Carrying out the spirit of the original Free African Society
“THE VISIT” is a collaborative report on an event witnessed by The Reverend James Milton Stradford.
THE STRADFORD FAMILY JEWELS is one of 12 first chapters on an extraordinary journey from “slaveship to spaceship.” For those who have yet to share THE VISIT by The Reverend James Milton Stradford, it was published October 2001 in TheEnterpriZe from slaveship to spaceship, an intellectual property of Eric Stradford and Stephanie A. Walker Stradford.
As he slept through the night, THE VISIT, which some might call a dream, became reality for James Milton Stradford and those with whom he shared it. “I don’t know how it started. Nothing out of the ordinary had occurred the day before. It was as eventful as any other day.” He estimates the journey occurred sometime between two and four o’clock in the morning (Chronos).
“I was talking to Mother before I went into the hospital and before I knew it, we were going up the King’s Highway.” Alma Catherine Thomas Stradford, his bride of 57 years at the time, could not recall THE VISIT. But according to Big Dad, she was clearly present. “I can’t recall how I was dressed, but she wore a long evening gown.” Big Dad’s eyes shined brightly as he described his bride’s beauty. In listening, one could visualize a celestial princess clad in a flowing gown of gossamer. It was crystal clear that they were headed for someplace they had never been.
The road they traveled was not pavement. It did not appear as clusters of clouds. It was just like the sun shining down from Heaven to Earth. You could see the streak of light where the sun went down into the water. The light on which they traveled measured about 10-12 feet in width. “It was just a light, but it looked like a fraction from a mighty powered light.”
Though Big Dad never finished high school, he painted a verbal picture that reflected Wisdom’s presence. The true beauty of this painting was the God-given simplistic manner in which it was being presented. With tear-filled eyes and a steady voice, his recollection of THE VISIT continued.
“We went up from Earth to Heaven and, when we got to Heaven, the doors were open. The door did not open as we arrived – the heavens were already open, and we just walked in. Moses was the first I recognized. He was there to log us in. He was big—a great giant of a man – favored Milton (oldest grandchild). His golden hair was twisted to one side and he was pleasant. He was the most beautiful man I ever saw.
When I looked at him, I knew him as I know you. I had never seen him before, but I knew this man to be Moses.”
After Moses, we came to Peter’s mansion, and after that, the mansion of the Apostle Paul. He recalled that “they too were men of great stature—men he had never seen before. Nobody told me this was Peter. Nobody told me it was Apostle Paul. No one introduced me to Moses. When I saw them, I knew them—I knew them by name.”
The next area visited was described as a construction site. “The took me to a mansion that was not complete. It was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. The architects were still working on it. They said to me this is going to be yours when it is finished.”
From there, THE VISIT continued to a “Hall of Records.” There were two names on a scroll on the wall. I don’t know what the first name was, but the second was mine.”
“Oomph! All the people I worked with and all the friends I’ve had, you mean to tell me that only two names are on the scroll and one of them is mine?” At that point, a voice spoke to him saying, “This is your record which has been kept. The reason why your record appears here is simply because you did what I told you to do. You didn’t give into the world or the dictation of anybody.” The voice continued, “Your record is here and when your mansion is completed, you’ll be in yours as the Apostles Paul, Peter and Moses are in theirs.
From the Hall of Records, they traveled to what Big Dad thought would be the reception or banquet for which they were formally dressed. “We came around the edge of the River of Life, where we sat down. Everything was moving around –everything and everybody. Every living creature would just step off into the River of Life. Nobody was struggling to get in or out. There was no sign of anything unkindly. There was no death.”
“We left there for an area where there were two rivers. One river went one way and the other flowed the other way. There was nothing earthly about these rivers. They were separate from the River of Life. They were crystal clear with no dirt or anything in them.” Big Dad referred to this area as the “Alter of the Almighty.”
“We heard a mighty sound—mightier than the great jets taking off. Trying to figure out where this noise was coming from, we happened to look up. The sound was coming from a great bronze-colored chariot.”
Big Dad described the sled shape of the chariot’s front as having “a turn-up” and God was standing in the midst of it. “It came over us. Just as it passed, I caught a glimpse of it to know what color it was. In the shadows I could see the golden hair of the Almighty. I didn’t see his face, just the shadow.” He said, “I am God, beside Me there is none other.”
THE VISIT ended with a ride home in a gray-colored chariot. “The next thing I remember, we were getting out of the chariot and I woke up.”