Romans 12:5 "So we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another."
I am starting this post with a verse because I think it's one I've started to see lived out in my life. I know I learned a good lesson as I walked into the small town of Parma.
To give you a little back story, before I left on this trip I had a radio show on KGNW in Seattle. It was a 1 hour talk radio show that I'm not sure anyone even listened to. Right after my show a really great show aired called "The Light in the Night". It was hosted by Connie and Gordon, who are now great friends of mine and are big supporters of Needle2Square. Now Connie's brother is a Pastor of a church just outside of Parma called Sterry Presbyterian Church. Connie had told me during our visit in John Day, that she would contact him to see if he wanted me to stop by and share the story with him.
So while St and I were still a few days outside of Parma, I had received a call from Pastor Mark (Connie's brother) but missed it and gave him a call back. He answered and seemed to be very busy so our conversation was short and to the point. Half jokingly he asked me a question I could tell was some what loaded... "are you crazy!" To which I replied, "probably!" We kind of laughed about it and in turn he said "well your in good company." We worked out a plan to have a little BBQ on Tuesday and to be honest I got the feeling that he wasn't really all that in to having St and I come to share at his church. His secratary Tina called later and was soooo jazzed about everything and took care of all the details for Tuseday. She also mentiond that she used to work as a massus and wanted to rub our feet before the BBQ.. I was totally up for it but St was a little iffy . We made it to Parma the Saturday before and had planned on getting a hotel for the night. I called Mark to let him know we were in town and he told us that he had already prearranged a hotel for us to stay in and even paid for it. What a blessing! We got to the hotel and the people there welcomed us so warmly. They even had a place for LeeRoy to stay...It was perfect.
We settled in and waited for Mark to come meet up with us. He arrived 1 or 2 and we sat out front the hotel and chatted over some cold drinks (not THAT kind of cold drinks). St and I were very tired and Mark was firing questions at us non stop and often before we had the chance to finish answering, he would ask us another question. I know he was just curious and wanted to know what we're all about. I started speaking my mind a little and I felt myself getting defensive like I was being attacked a little bit. We finished our convo and made plans to meet up for dinner later that evening. St and I went back in the hotel to rest and we both felt the same way about Mark. I was a little unsure of how this would all play out.
Later around 6pm Mark picked us up for dinner and we went to this restaurant called
Apple - Lucy. IT WAS AWSOME.!!! They kept bringing us so much food, we couldn't even eat it all. They had pies and all kinds of delicious food. The vibe with Mark this time was different as if we had passed the first part of a test. He went from inerigating us with questions to being more of an advocate, tell our story to just about everyone in the restaurant. It easied the tension for St and I.
After dinner we picked up LeeRoy and went to a drive in movie theater. Mark dropped us off and we stood in line with all the cars. It was pretty funny! Everyone was starting at us and LeeRoy. Kids under 5 get in free so we were hoping that ment LeeRoy would get in free too. With our fingers crossed and the support of all the cars around us, we got in. While looking for a spot to sit, we ran in to a family that we had stayed with in Brogan. It was sooooo good to see them again. We ended up sharing the spot they had with chairs and everything. I know the wife's name is Carol but his name slips my mind. I think it's Mike..... Thanks to Mike and Carol for hookin us up yet again! Wait.... maybe it's Mark.....Ya! Mark and Carol.That's it!
The next morning Pastor Mark picked us up and we head to his house for breakfast before church. Once we made it to church, I tied LeeRoy to the flag poll next to some bushes that he could munch on while we headed inside. Ok here's the deal, I know in situations like this I stand out so i figure instead of trying to just keep it low key I just go all out (mind you this is a very conservative congregation and I all tattooed up smelling like a goat decided I be the guest usher/greeter). As I'm standing in the doorway greeting people, I'm not saying "good morning" instead I'm yelling "good game" and "way to hustle out there" or " way to keep your eye on the ball" after which I give them a sturdy hi-five and hand them a bulletin. Now for them most part I always got a smile, even from the older generation. I could tell Mark was stoked that St and I were interacting with his church in a way that was a bit different than normal. After worship Mark invited us up on stage to share our story with everyone. First St then I brought the goat in and shared aswell. And just like every other time, LeeRoy relieved himself right in the middle of church.
After church a big group of us went out for lunch and Mark was so kind to us. It seemed like we had passed all the tests that he had for us... He even mentioned that I should be a Pastor and listed a few reasons why he thoughts so. I on the other hand feel like I'm not the guy for that... like you have to be more spiritual then I am to be leading a congregation....( save this topic for another post). Anyway, Mark hugged us like sons and by the end of it you could tell he was really supportive of what we were doing.