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The 700 Club

Connecting to a Greater Story

Reunion on The Steve Harvey Show

“You need to go find your parents!” Lemar Collier told his adopted twins, Sam and Sara, while the family was watching football one day in 2012. “I think it may be time. I mean, you don’t want to grow up and marry a cousin.” Lemar and his wife, Belinda, had the birth mom’s name on their adoption paperwork, but no idea how to find her. A fan of The Steve Harvey Show, Lemar also told them they should contact Harvey and ask for his help. After some consideration, Sam and Sara decided to take their dad’s advice. Harvey’s staff was interested in their story, and told them they’d try to find the woman. When the show producer called back a month later and said that nothing had turned up, she still invited them to appear on the program to ask the viewing audience for help. In the fall of 2013, the whole family travelled to Chicago and did just that. Sitting on the set next to Steve Harvey, the twins told him their reasons for wanting to find their birth mom. He calmly replied, “Now I know that I said we didn’t find your mother … but that’s not the case. Elinor, come on out.” Sam and Sara were stunned. While they knew there was a chance the producers had actually found their birth mom and kept it from them as a surprise, they weren’t prepared for that sudden reality. They both froze. A slender woman slowly walked over to Sara and Sam, then hugged the twins she hadn’t seen since she gave them birth. Sam put his head down, undone with intense emotion, and finally sensed the Lord lead him to hug the woman who chose life for them. The surprise wasn’t over. The staff had also tracked down the twins’ three biological siblings and brought them out, too. Though shell-shocked, Sam and Sara, as well as Lemar and Belinda, were elated to reunite with them all. Unlike some reunion situations, they all maintain a good relationship to this day.

Healing the Racial Divide

Atlanta was “the mecca of black culture,” Sam says of his home city, where he used to ride with his dad to his Silver Star Barbershop in the “Sweet Auburn District.” Nearby, on well-known Auburn Avenue, stands famous Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as well as his father, once pastored. The Royal Peacock is also on Auburn Ave., a formerly upscale nightclub where the likes of Gladys Knight and the Pips, B.B. King, and The Four Tops performed in days gone by. A block up from the barbershop was the first black-owned daily newspaper, The Atlanta Daily World. He sums up his experience this way: “I grew up black. Black neighborhood. Black music. Black people. Those black people taught me what it means to truly live. Being black means having a strong community.” Today, Sam lives in a predominantly white world, and is a consultant on racial unity (also the subject of his next book). He believes two things are needed for racial unity: Relationship is the first, he explains, meaning most people don’t spend significant time with people from other ethnic groups, but they need to do so if they’re to understand one another. “We need to sit down and do life together,” he says. The second need, Sam believes, is learning to speak one another’s language. He says we hear each other, but don’t know how to “tune our frequency” and listen for understanding, which takes time, effort, and patience. 

A Greater Story

Sam’s friend and mentor, Pastor Jeff Henderson of North Point Church in Atlanta likes to say, “When your story connects with God’s story, it leads to a greater story.” Sam liked the expression so much that he made it his mantra, and uses the phrase “A Greater Story” for his TV show and podcast name, as well as most recent book title. Sam says his and Sara’s stories were forever, wonderfully changed by their loving, Godly parents. He honors them throughout A Greater Story, and says that their consistent love, clear Christian training, and the large, extended family support provided them with the best start in life that any children could have. Sam has learned a lot about how one’s story lines up with God’s story; for example, through coming to faith in Jesus, killing habitual sins before they kill us, being willing to sacrifice to achieve our dreams and help others achieve theirs, and finding our purpose at the intersection of passion, gifting, and God’s provision. “When you abandon your self-spun plans for your life and gratefully accept the plans that God has for you instead," he exhorts, “you activate the promises that God has made for those who earnestly seek His will.”  

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