BY JO BETH HOLLAND BOYLES |
My daughter Katie and I walked the area of historic Bethabara on a recent Saturday. We know this history of the ones who came to Bethabara. We have heard the stories of a faith lived each day. Both of us have grown up at Bethabara and witnessed people serving the Lord in Christian love.
With my interest in genealogy, I have learned of the witness of Christ shown at Bethabara through the years and the difference it has made in the lives of many. I have Ransom lineage from Georgia and often wonder how my ancestor came to be in North Carolina. The connection was found in Christian kindness.
“Another man, Reuben Ransom, was here for eight weeks in the care of our doctor. He returned to his home on 12/3 (ed. note: hence, he was there from abt. 10/3 to 12/3), thankful for his improvement and the help given him by our doctor. This man is about 50 years old, was born in Virginia, and is now living in Franklin Co., this state, where he has a wife and ten children. He was county sheriff for many years. Early in October he passed through here on his way to South Carolina, and about 1/2 mile from our town his horse took fright and upset the chair and he was so badly hurt internally and in his back that he could not continue his journey. Several Brethren who hurried to his assistance carried him here in a big spread and took him into one of the family houses to be cared for by the doctor. His life seemed to be in danger. His parents belonged to the English Church and he was brought up in a Christian manner. Twenty years ago he joined the Methodists but left them later. In leaving, he told the Brethren that he hoped to dedicate the further days of his life to his Lord and saviour and asked their thoughts and prayers”
Source: Salem Diary of 1804 in Records of the Moravians of NC by Fries, Vol. 6 1743-1888
Once he returned to Georgia he joined his local Baptist church and is noted for a life well-lived. His son married a local Shouse girl. Her ancestors had been refugees in the mill settlement at Bethabara. Again, kindness was shown to a family in need.
The fruits of the Spirit that we show to others make a lasting impact. Bethabara is still sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ. We are very small. Most Sundays we have about as many at church as those who first came to build in this wilderness. We have a Food Pantry that continues to serve each week during these months of shutdowns due to COVID. On average 200 families are served each month or over 1000 individuals. And, our Clothing Ministry is reopening. While things will be different, the purpose of showing Christ’s love remains the same.
Bethabara has 10 miles of trails and I take advantage of this as much as possible. Many times I will encounter someone asking me where does this trail goes to? I answer with kindness. Just like on winding trails we can get lost in this journey of Christian life. The Bible is our roadmap. This spiritual lesson here is that we as people need to keep our focus on Jesus Christ and the reason we are here.
“But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.”- Matthew 7:14 NLT
About the Author
Jo Beth Holland Boyles has a great appreciation for history and genealogy. She serves the Lord by playing the flute at Bethabara Moravian Church. Her husband, Robby, sings in the choir and she has two grown children, Katie and Robert. The picture above is of Jo Beth from the 1970s at Historic Bethabara.