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The New Neighbor

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The New Neighbor

Arthur James McDonald was in trouble. He was heartbroken too. His parents had recently died in a car accident. He had no family to his knowledge in America. A draft notice had just come in the mail. He was to report in two weeks. The U.S. Army was to be his new home. All he had left in the world was his girlfriend, and he was being taken away from her.

Arthur’s girlfriend, Norma Sue was in tears. She knew that he would soon be going to Viet Nam like all the other guys that had been drafted. The two of them spent as much time together as possible before he left. Her parents hated him. They dreamed of someone better for their daughter.

In a large metro area 374 miles away, Joe and Gloria Phillips sat in front of a gentle natured old lady. They wanted to adopt a baby and were willing to jump through all the hoops to qualify. Whatever it took. Hopefully the cost wouldn’t overwhelm them. They were told that there was nothing available at the time, but she would put their names on a waiting list.

29 months and 16 days in Viet Nam seemed like an eternity for Arthur. The letters from Norma Sue had been constant for several months. Then nothing. Not even a ‘Dear John’ letter.

When Norma Sue’s parents found out that she was expecting, they sent her to a home for unwed mothers. They were so ashamed. Hopefully their friends and family would never know.

Her parents had restricted her. There was to be no contact between her and Arthur. They threw all his letters into the trash. He was to never know about the baby.

The Doctor shook his head at the nurse. The baby was born healthy, but the mother lay lifeless on her bed. Her parents must be notified. The social workers took over.

On July 23, 1962, Gloria received the news while Joe was at work. The Agency had called and said they had a newborn baby boy for them. She was ecstatic! The lady said that the baby’s mother had died in childbirth. The maternal grandparents did not wish to keep the baby. The father’s name on the birth certificate was Arthur James McDonald. Nothing else was known of him or his family.

Two Sundays later, baby Donald Paul Phillips was dedicated to the Lord at the First Pentecostal Church.

At the age of five, little Donny Phillips received the Holy Ghost in Children’s Church. Donnie loved the Bible stories he learned in family devotion and in Sunday School.

Joe and Gloria told Donny when he was 9, that he was adopted. They told him that his mother had died giving birth to him and that the only thing they knew about his dad was his name was Arthur James McDonald. Young Donny hugged his parents and told them he loved them and that he was glad they had wanted him to be their boy. “You’re my Mommy and Daddy,” he said.

When he was seventeen, Don felt like he wanted to be a preacher. He did not say anything to anyone about feeling a call to preach.

Pastor Walker watched the spiritual progress of this young man. The Phillips had excelled as parents and Don was great young man. He prayed in the prayer room, he worshiped during the service and he was very obedient as well. The pastor could tell that the hand of the Lord was upon this young man.

Unlike some of the others in the youth group, Don was not rebellious. He did not test the boundaries of the church’s standards nor did he hang out with the worldly kids in the church.

At eighteen, Don gave his first sermon in a youth service. In private, he later cried tears of disappointment in his amateur attempt at preaching. It was harder than he’d imagined.

In June 1987 Donald Paul Phillips watched Rebecca Thomas walk down the aisle to take his name in holy matrimony.

Three years later Donald and Rebecca  started a storefront Home Missions church 50 miles away. Their pastor had helped them in their choice and had placed his blessings on them.

The small group grew slowly, but it grew nevertheless. Another building and fifteen years later, found them in a regular ‘church’ building.

The new location seemed to spark another growth spurt. The new converts started bringing their friends and family. Men and women were getting the Holy Ghost every week. The baptismal tank was used just as often too.

Bro. Jimmy Delano a new convert, brought his new neighbor to church last Sunday Morning. He had been teaching him a Home Bible Study and was thrilled when the neighbor asked to come to church with Jimmy.

Pastor Phillips preached a wonderful message on the Holy Ghost. Four new people were in the altar, and all of them received the Holy Ghost. They also wanted to be baptized.

The first baptismal candidate was an older gentleman. Jimmy Delano’s new neighbor. As Pastor Phillips prepared to baptize him, he asked him his name.

“Macky,” the old man said.

“Macky what?” was the pastor’s response.

“I’m sorry, that’s my nickname. My full name is McDonald. Arthur James McDonald.”

Pastor Phillips looked at the man he was about to baptize, for a moment, and then with tears streaming down his face he called his two young children up close to the baptismal tank.

“James and Stephanie, he said, “I want you to watch me baptize my Daddy and your Grandpa, Arthur James McDonald, in the precious name of Jesus!”

Written by Martyn Ballestero

December 18, 2010 at 4:04 pm

10 Responses

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  1. Wow. What a tear jerker.

    Steve Epley

    December 18, 2010 at 4:19 pm

  2. So touching…Thats just like our God….I read it to Bro. Jones & he cried…(I did too)

    Joyce Jones

    December 18, 2010 at 4:47 pm

  3. Dear Marty,
    I really am touched by this story. It gets hold of my heart, and sings the sweet song of God’s love for mankind. How marvelous that the Lord would bring the man and his son together in such a marvelous way. Keep telling things like this, It Is Refreshing.
    Love, Dad

    Howard Davis

    December 18, 2010 at 9:55 pm

  4. Wow….what an amazing story. Sitting here with tears running down my face. So glad God brought the pieces together. 🙂


    December 20, 2010 at 11:54 am

  5. Beautiful story…being a “Phillips” makes it a bit more interesting to me.
    God is Good.!

    Mike Phillips

    December 20, 2010 at 11:02 pm

  6. Wow. What a tear jerker.

    Nona Mills

    December 22, 2010 at 1:37 pm

  7. Wow! you have so many good posts, brother. I’m in charge of our newsletter and have to keep finding stuff to put in it. I’ll let you know (asking for permission)concerning which ones I would like to copy. BTW, is this story, “the new neighbor”, a true story and may I put this in our newletter? Thank you.

    Douglas Collins

    February 2, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    • Absolutely! (Names have been changed.) You may use my material anytime without asking. Bless you.


      February 2, 2011 at 2:17 pm

  8. Such a wonderful story! I have figured 2005 to be the year that he met his dad. Do you know anything else of the outcome of Brother “Phillips” and Brother “McDonald”?


    December 23, 2012 at 1:47 am

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