Many preachers tell the same story. You can't outrun the call to preach.
Renee Kimbrough is in the fourth year of a preaching ministry that she ran from for decades.
"I kept feeling God's call on me, but wouldn't answer," she said. Her earliest memory of a miraculous healing goes back to her childhood. The now great grandmother of seven, remembers very clearly massaging a baby's legs and praying for healing. She also prayed for a miraculous healing for a granddaughter whose doctors had told her she needed her legs to be broken to straighten them.
She remembers praying and, "They did not need to break her legs."
The call just kept getting reaffirmed. One woman walked up to her at church, and said, "Why are you running?" She asked the woman what "running," she was talking about.
The woman said, "You know what I'm talking about. You have the anointing on you."
Rev. Kimbrough is an associate minister at the Holy Temple Church #2 on Hamilton Street in Forest City, a small but devoted congregation of Pentecostal folks whose anointing traces its roots back to the Azusa Street revivals in Los Angeles.
Another woman told her, "As long as you're running, every time you go to church, you're gonna get whooped."
Although she spent many years avoiding the call to preach, she was always willing to talk the spiritual life with others and continue to pray with others anywhere, any time.
When she visits the local Senior Center, people ask her to pray.
"One woman heard us praying from the kitchen, and she came out saying, 'I just want to get in on the praying.'"
When asked about the advantages of being part of a small church, she said, "You don't have to worry about what other people think of you. If the Lord tells you to scream, you scream. If the Lord tells you to run, you run."
If she could preach only one sermon, what would she preach?
"Be angry, but sin not," she quoted the scriptures and added, "I talk about that a lot. If somebody smacks you, walk away. If you smack back, you're sinning."
Criss Daniels, a longtime friend and neighbor said, "I've seen her do it. I've seen the change in her. She's as cool as a cucumber." Daniels also asked Rev. Kimbrough to tell the story about the robe.
"I saw this robe hanging in the store and I said I really wanted it, but when I started out of the store with it, I thought that I didn't want that robe, so went back into the store, but a woman there told, 'That is your robe,' and I knew she was right. She asked me to pray and we prayed together right there in the store," she said.
She has also had a vision of the gates of heaven opening and closing. She believes that is another sign that she should preach. Her message is one of welcome to all. She has one simple message for those who might visit the Holy Temple Church #2 on Hamilton Street, "Welcome to the neighborhood."