Columnist Royce Lott and his wife, Beth.


Kitchen Tune-Up

     In my 30-plus years of ministry, those closest to me have always joked about how much I talk! I don’t think I’ve ever preached a typical 30-minute sermon, EVER. But on a particular Thursday 10 years ago, I think I talked more in three hours than I ever will again.


     I’ve led groups of hundreds of teenagers all over this country. What challenge could a morning out with 50 or so children be? We were at a beautiful Mississippi agritourism site. Only seconds after the kids stepped off the bus, as I directed them to our designated spot, a child ran up to me shouting, “Mr. Royce, (she) fell in a hole!”


     In an instant, not 30 feet from me, a 6-year-old child had disappeared down an abandoned well bore (14 inches in diameter) — 36 feet below the surface. I had walked that very ground the night before, but a deluge of rain had apparently loosened the grown-over sod that had hidden this hole.


     For the next three and a half hours, I lay with my face at the edge of that well and spoke life to a frightened child as every effort was made to rescue her. At my every attempt to get up and let the professionals work, they insisted that I stay. “She’s responding to you. Try to keep her calm.”


     Three rescue attempts failed. Then, two and a half hours into the ordeal, a special team out of Hattiesburg arrived. This was the last hope for direct rescue before we were to deploy backhoes to dig a counter hole and cut across to her. As they set up the equipment and explained the process, I felt one of the most frightening feelings I’ve known in my life. The director of this rescue put the device in my hand, demonstrated what it needed to do, then looked at me and said, “You’ve gotta do this — she’s responding to you!”


     With lights shining down the hole and this “handcuff” device being lowered from a specialized rescue tripod, I thought, “Dear God, help me!” About 10 minutes passed as I coached this precious little girl’s every move, as if she were putting on bracelets to play dress-up, to get into just the right position to put on this harness. While talking with my mouth, I was praying in my heart.


     Then, in seconds, she was out! I lay down and just wept, praising God! Greater still, after a 36-foot fall, she hadn’t even broken a bone. She was discharged from the ER about five hours later and is doing well today.


     Friends, the people on the surface heard my voice, but the Voice of Peace was what this little girl was hearing, and He breathed life so she would hear and respond. The same Firewalker who rescued three boys from a king’s fiery furnace walked a little girl back up to the earth’s surface that Thursday. What a mighty God we serve!


     This was a day I never want to repeat, but a day which has made my voice a bit louder and prouder as I use my “gift of gab.”


     For His fame, glory and renown, Brother Royce.


Brother Royce, as he is known to most, is senior pastor of Satartia First Baptist Church in Yazoo County. He is a minister of over 30 years, serving both this church and communities throughout the Southeast in social, emotional and behavioral education. He and his wife, Beth, live in Madison County. 

This article was originally published in the George County Times newspaper in Lucedale.

Pro-Life Mississippi