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Trip Report Trip report to Plains GA to hear Jimmy Carter teach Sunday School

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This has been on my "to do" list for a while and I just returned from a little trip.

I joined folks from Georgia, Florida, Alabama, South Dakota and Kansas as well as folks from Greece, Belarus and Bulgaria in the sanctuary of Maranantha Baptist Church to hear Jimmy Carter teach Sunday School.

He teaches Sunday School quite often and the calendar is listed on the church's website -

I enjoyed the experience very much. A friend had gone and warned me that one should go early and wait before the church doors open at 8:30 am for the 10:00 Sunday School lesson. We were experiencing a tropical storm and hoped that would have an impact on attendance. It did. The numbers there were much smaller than usual.

He teaches Sunday School in the sanctuary that seats 300 and there is room for an overflow of 150 in another room. "Miss Jan" who gives the orientation that the Sunday that 875 showed up was a challenge. :-)

"Miss Jan", a former schoolteacher, makes sure that EVERYONE understands the rules. No applause as he enters or leaves. They DID applause the Sunday after he won the Nobel Peace Prize. She shared how he will ask those attending where they are from and during that time you can take pictures. If you take pictures during the lesson, she will take the camera away and you can discuss the situation with the Secret Service agents who have your camera :-). She reminded everyone that this is a worship service and he is not here to entertain. He studies hard before each lesson and this means a lot to him.

You can tell. The lesson was wonderful. I have been a fan of his for three decades now, and that was only increased today. But, I was awed by his humility and spirit. It was amazing to glance up during a prayer and realized that he had entered and was sitting within 6 feet of me. He walked around as he taught and at the beginning my mind was processing "He's right in front of you!" - but my the end of the lesson I was just intent on what he had to say. The lesson was very interactive and there was a bit of a delay when I realized that one the soft spoken voice responding to a question about the book of James was Rosalynn on the other side of the sanctuary.

We stayed for church, of course, and he and Rosalynn posed for pictures after the service. "Miss Jan" runs that show too and makes sure you are ready for your photo opp and makes sure that you delay the process with chit-chat. The Carters were very gracious throughout.

There are pews roped off for the members and one really did feel that we were guests in a rural church, rather than "tourists". I was a bit surprised when Jimmy and Rosalynn sat a couple of pew behind me but really did pretty much forget their presence during the service. But, then, during the last hymm, I HEARD him - and leaned over to DF and whispered "That's Jimmy Carter singing!". He smiled. That's one memory I don't think that will ever fall away - hearing President Carter's voice from 3 feet behind us singing "There's Something About That Name" with us - and hundreds of others from across this country and from around the world.

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