Editor's Note: Guest blogger Azariah Southworth is a junior at Indiana-Purdue University of Fort Wayne majoring in media and public communication. Once the host of a widely-watched Christian TV show, he now dreams of being a cast member on 1 Girl 5 Gays.
Driving to church was a dreadfully boring experience. There was nothing but corn fields and dirt roads the whole way. Occasionally, my sister Amanda would try to entertain us by singing, then, my other sister Sarah would try rapping the song "Jesus Freak." I would join in on occasion but I spent most of the time staring out the windows wishing the drive was over.
Driving to Sunday evening service the night that Stephanie came was no different.
Every Sunday evening the church service was dedicated to congregants sharing testimonies of what God has done or is doing for them. My dad was always the first to testify. He is a man of routine. Just like he would go through every room in the house praying the same prayer for each of his kids every weekend, he also gave the same testimony every Sunday.
After my dad would speak then Carla would share. After Carla shared, a lady named Stephanie walked on the stage. She adjusted the microphone and began to speak. Stephanie was not a part of the typical Sunday lineup. This was different, in more ways than one.
Stephanie had long brown hair and wore a floral print dress with tennis shoes. I don't remember the words she spoke but I remember she reeked of sadness, fear, and desperation like heavy cheap perfume. There was an odd tension in the room when she took the stage, as if she didn't belong up there.