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By Lauren T. ~

On Sunday nights the crowd is louder, the music is fun and we get guest preachers. Some come from their TV shows to use our church’s microphone and water. They’re so close to God that He put them on TV to be pastors to our pastor. You can’t get higher than that unless you’re the Pope, but he’s not a real Christian. One time a preacher from TV stood up front and raised his arm up, and then started walking through the aisles. I saw people shaking and praising next to him, and the Spirit came over my section when he passed. It felt like a big warm chill, then wanting to fall over. But I kept standing so I wouldn’t lose it. I let it come back in waves, feeling the man walk by, and it stopped when he moved on. That was how strong the Spirit was in him; he had so much overflowing for all of us.

My pastor and dad said you’re not saved until you can speak in tongues, since it’s the real sign you have the Spirit. The part of God He left on Earth is inside us and it can talk to the Father in His own private language. You don’t know what you’re saying, but He does. And the world might laugh at how it sounds, but what the world hates is usually good, anyway.

So tonight at my church we have another guest preacher, but I don’t know if he’s from TV. He says to speak in tongues at the end. Our regular church pastors are at the front, telling us to raise our hands and pray. I can’t do it yet. I can’t figure out how they’re making the noises and let the words just gush out. Bashugana, osh amana, ola gaga. I hear the others loud around me- real languages that God knows, because they’re getting the warm chill that goes past your heart, into your stomach, down to your feet and turns your legs to jelly. I can’t feel it.

Then the pastors invite people who haven’t gotten tongues yet into the back stage area. We can line up and have hands laid on us to make sure it works before we leave. The pastors always say to answer the burning in your chest, stand up and go up if you’re called. I can’t stay still and I don’t want to. I walk to the little room and beside all the other slow learners. We’re quiet, then the visitor pastor moves down the line to touch each person and make sure we’re getting the Spirit. He knows God can understand our prayers in English, but so can everyone else. If I don’t speak in the Spirit, God will tune me out, or let the Devil answer.

I feel the pastor getting closer, and I’m scared he’ll touch me and it won’t happen- I won’t let the words out, or God won’t give them to me. I peek to see how much time before he gets in front of me. Say something. Open up before he touches you and nothing happens. I should feel the warm chill already.

I hear the ones before me keep praying out loud with their hands raised to God, who can listen now without eavesdroppers. The pastor puts his hand on my forehead. I try to start the Spirit with a good try of my own- bashugana, osh amana, ola gaga… I say it from the throat, too soft. The pastor pushes my head back more, and I think it will start the real thing. When I stop talking, he lets go. “Yes” … “She’s got it,” he says. He moves on. But I still don’t have it.

I leave the room, and the sanctuary, and the church without the warm chill. I still don’t have it now! I want the pastor to come back and tell me he knows. He was in a hurry to get to the rest. And he didn’t want to embarrass me in front of everyone else, but I will get it next time. Or does he think I really have it?