Afternoon Tea at The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove in Asheville, NC started with prayer and praise before the first sip of tea was taken three years ago. In 2012, The Cove hosted their first afternoon tea for Christian Communicators. Their graciousness and hospitality was impeccable as was this year at the 2015 Christian Communicators Conference tea. However, that first year there was a challenge about mugs verses teacups.
Teacups seemed worth going the extra mile to match the beauty of the third floor suite of the steepled wall of windows, linen decked tables, and a buffet of dainties, savories, and sweets. The challenge was The Cove’s white china came with mugs.
Gathering 35 teacups didn’t seem like much of a challenge to begin with. Nevertheless, three days before the first Christian Communicators Conference (CCC) at The Cove, I had only gat
hered less than two dozen teacups. I’d prayed for time to hunt teacups for days, but time was rushing by as fast as water in a brook during a spring thaw! Not enough teacups and no idea where the rushing time would allow me meet the need from my perspective. Until, I was stuck in traffic!
Sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic that a turtle could win in a race, I prayed about all kinds of needs that still cried out to be met before rushing to the CC Conference. In what I thought was an untimely pause, I looked out the window and saw the Goodwill store next to me. With a quick turn into their parking lot, I thought I’d see if they had any teacups on the shelf. I started filling the cart with miss-matched cups and saucers that “would do” for the afternoon tea. But before I started to head for the checkout stand, an employee was pushing a deep bin towards the dishes’ shelves. I looked into the bin and saw a FULL TEA SET with matching cake dishes!
“Lady, you have wait until I put these on the shelf,” the young man whispered to me. My joy was so great at what I saw, that I told the ladies in the dish isle, “This tea set in here is mine. I’ve been praying for teacups.” Oh how I wish I could say I whispered too, but my joy was as noisy as a CooCoo-Clock at midnight! In fact my enthusiasm was so contagious that when other women came into the dish isle the strangers told them that the tea set was mine, “She prayed for them.”
Yes, I gathered the tea set, put the miss-matched cups and saucers back on the shelf, and thanked the ladies who joined in my joy before dashing to checkout. It all took thirty minutes! The traffic was clear and I was on my way.
Yes, God is in the details! Who caused the bumper-to-bumper traffic when I had only thirty minutes to spare? Who caused me to look at the Goodwill store that I buzz by almost every day? Who moved someone to give an unused tea set at a time of need? Who hears at any time the strangest of prayers and brings about answers in unexpected ways?
The 2015 Afternoon Tea at The Cove was a delight of fabulous food by
Chief Doug Walls, keynote by Patty Nicholas (CCC grad 2014), and sisterhood fellowship over teacups.
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know He hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of Him. 1 John 5:14—15
They asked and He brought them quail and satisfied them with the bread of heaven. Psalm 105:40
My ask was for teacups for afternoon tea at The Cove and He brought them through a stranger who obeyed His nudge to give them to Goodwill. Only God can serve a banquet full of grace, love, and fellowship.