She had been 8 when her father died. A life long smoker the cancer had caught up with him. She remembered overhearing the doctors tell her Mother that the cancer was able to get such a hold because her Father had refused early treatment.
In the hospital waiting room. Watching the strip lights flicker and buzz. 8 year old Rachel grew up the instant her Mother told her, tears in her eyes, that her Dad had passed away. Rachel did not cry, she sat still in shock as her Mother wept.
Rachel family were from a religious background. In attendance every Sunday come rain or shine at their local church. Her father even played the organ at times, although Rachel heard him say he much preferred playing the blues to playing the hymns. He enjoyed the belonging and took great comfort in his beliefs. Rachel had attended Sunday school since was 6. A bright child who picked up the words of the scripture with relative ease.
She even found herself enjoying the upbeat nature of the services. The empowering patter of the preacher. Strengthening her emerging faith. The church represented an extension of her family, her friends were other church goers and the pastor was a regular visitor to the house for Sunday lunch.
Occasionally there was a guest preacher, often a big name in church circles. Rachel remembered her Father being excited to see this one particular preacher, who had a foreign sounding name. This excitement turned to disappointment when the pastor announced that because of heavy snow the visiting preacher was stuck on a runway in Chicago. The pastor had said that the preacher would soon be heading their way and they should all attend his show at the local college which had a huge auditorium.
Rachel had just turned seven when the day of the show came. She went along with her family and the Pattersons the family from two doors down. Rachel would always remember the vast auditorium, there was a huge amount of energy in the room even before the show began. Upbeat gospel music pumped from massive speakers. There were a large number of people wandering about handing out leaflets and envelopes. Rachel and the Pattersons youngest Richard were annoyed that they didn’t get a envelope. As her father wrote upon his leaflet Rachel tried to look and see what it was. It was quickly taken away and placed in a envelope that was then passed to end of their row.
The show started with a bang. The preacher had a remarkable talent for showmanship, that wasn’t lost on Rachel. He had the congregation eating out of the palm of his hand. Contacting the “Holy Spirit” and the “Spirits of the worthy” contacting those “In Heaven” who wished to contact the lucky few that were called to the stage. Rachel looked on as the hysteria grew as the preacher plucked from God information about the conditions of the people before him. Rachel was amazed when he healed the sick, or passed on messages from the deceased relatives.
The excitement was such that Rachel was unable to get to sleep that night. The miracles from the show running around her young mind. She never felt so safe.
That safety disappeared exactly two weeks later. Rachels father told her he was sick. She was upset and she wept, but her father told her everything would be OK because he had contacted Peter Bovoff “You know sweetie.. the man from the show, he’ll heal me.”
Now 20 years later, Rachel took her seat at Bovoff’s show. She was here to make contact.