Pocataligo, SC - Everyone knows Donnie Lewis. The 58-year-old plumber from Pocataligo is always friendly and helpful to everyone in the community, at times making house calls in the middle of the night and refusing to charge his more elderly clients for work done. But while everyone loves and appreciates Lewis the fact remains that for as long as most people can remember no one has ever been able to understand him when he talks.
"He doesn't have a speech impediment or anything" said long-time friend Dorris Hinkle. "He just has this deep thick accent and tends to mumble out his words. I catch maybe ten to fifteen percent of what he says. But everyone loves him just the same. We just nod our heads and say 'Yeah, that's right' and kind of laugh when he says something."
Recently, though, something happened that has shocked and amazed almost everyone in the small South Carolina community. According to reports, two weeks ago during a "revival" service at the First Pentecostal Holiness Church of Pocataligo Lewis supposedly "received the gift of tongues" though in the most unexpected way.
"The service was really getting fired up" said Rev. Hal Abram, pastor of FPHC. "Donnie was sitting down there on the front row and I saw him with his hands raised in the air talking. But even over the noise I heard something, something that I had never heard before. I looked down and noticed that Donnie was talking and I could understand everything he was saying."
It wasn't long before the church became quiet and everyone in the congregation looked on and listened in amazement as Lewis stood in the church, eyes closed, hands raised to the air and spoke on perfect clear English.
"Everyone was dumbfounded" said Hinkle. "It was the first time I can ever remember completely understanding what Donnie was saying."
Lewis continued to speak for several minutes until he suddenly stopped, looked around at the crowd of people and proceeded to say something unintelligible to everyone. Since that day, Lewis has "received the gift" several more times, much to the delight and amazement of all of his friends.
"We look forward to every Sunday now" said friend Mark Holden. "After knowing Donnie all these years, it's just so nice to understand what he's saying. I just pray for him to speak in tongues more often."