Monday, January 5, 2009

Atlanta and "Cottonwoof"

I left my camera at home! *whines* And my knitting bag, so that blasted right mitt remains unfinished. But the trip was absolutely wonderful.

Before I tell you about that, a recent piece of marriage advice from my father.

"When you're talking to him [as in, a potential husband], find out if he likes food. If he loves food, he will like sex. And I think you will like sex so you'll want someone who likes food."

Yeah. Awkward turtle. Now I've passed the awkwardness off on you, muahaha.

Oh and then today, he told me he didn't think I was going to last more than three or four years. This is the guy who said maybe he'll allow me to date when I turn 45. Suddenly he's decided that I'll be married before I'm 24.

And now, back to the regularly scheduled program.

There are times when you are just compelled to do something, even when you can't explain exactly why, and then you do it and God reveals it was part of a plan more wonderful than anything you could have come up with. This was one of those times. To begin with, I got there for the last three open messages of the video training, which meant I got some really solid scriptural teaching, fellowship about the Lord's move around the world, and more excuses to see all my friends, including a bunch from Athens who came over for the training. Then, there was this brother that doesn't even meet with the Church in Atlanta that I had met earlier at a conference, who just happened to be there visiting his friend, so we got to fellowship and I gave him a study Bible. Actually, that was a pretty funny story.

So I was like "what are you reading in the Word lately?" And he was like "1 Peter, it's awesome."

"Cool! Have you gotten into the footnotes any? Like in the Recovery Version?" [this great study Bible]

"No, I don't have that translation"

"Well hey do you want one? It's free!"


So I dragged him over to the bookstore and asked the brother at the cash register for one of the cards you fill out to get one and he was like "I'm sorry, we ran out of those...but I think i have some in my car if you'll hold on for 10 minutes"

Jeopardy theme music. I needed some air (I really don't do big crowds and the hall was packed.) so I went and played balance beam on the curb for what approximated 8 minutes. Hadn't done that in a while. Such a simple childish pleasure.

Went back in and the bookstore was overrun with saints buying stuff. "Hey," I said to the brother at the cash register, "It looks like you really have your hands full. If you want, I'll take your keys and get it so you can stay here."

"Tell you what. Go get that brother over there [another older brother selling morning revivals in the lobby] to come over here"

So I got him, but he couldn't leave the table because people were buying things and the money box was there, so I was like "Here, I'll man the table for you while you go over there."

So there I am, selling morning revival books in the Church in Atlanta, I didn't even know how much they cost at first, and to top it off, he took the money box with him so I was just collecting the money in my hand. And I didn't have any change. And I was thinking "this dude better not leave before I get him that darn bible card!"

10 minutes later the brother returns with the cards at last. He gave me a few and said I was free to go. I handed him the 20 something dollars I made. Thank goodness, the young brother was still over there so I walked up to him, handed him the bible card, waved awkwardly and left. Looking back I'm thinking I should have at least introduced myself to his friend.

That whole encounter was one of those weird, "is that really what you want me to do God?" type things. Actually I had several of those in Atlanta. The great thing is, I was reading about something kinda like that in Acts, it was one of the passages mentioned in the meeting.

In the beginning of Acts 13, a handful of prophets and teachers in Antioch were "ministering to the Lord and fasting." The Holy Spirit spoke to them and said "Set apart for me Barnabus and Saul" so they prayed and fasted some more, laid their hands on them, and sent them off. "Then," says verse 4, "having been sent by the Holy Spirit, they went to Selucia and sailed to Cyprus."

First of all, this was a really new church. A church in a Gentile city, probably the only one at that time, since only in chapter 11 had Peter and the saints in Jerusalem figured out that God had given "repentance unto life" to the Gentiles too. Plus, who is this Saul dude? At that time, he was pretty much the new kid on the block, one of Barnabus's friends. Not exactly the place or the people today's church leaders might pick to launch a mission. And yet, this was the beginning of Paul's great ministry to the Gentiles. You could even say I, along with all the American Christians' salvation could be traced back to that moment.

And it all came out of a handful of saints in some little remote church praying, ministering to the Lord, fasting, listening to His speaking, and doing what He said. They had no idea how richly He would bless their faithfulness. Heavens, it doesn't even sound like they knew where they were sending Paul and Barnabus, the way verse 4 is arranged. (Notice how the "being sent by the Holy Spirit" part comes first - the where is secondary.)

Wow. I'm thinking a little prayer and fasting is in order.

Anyway, a few more memories I will treasure from my visit with the saints in Atlanta:

Goofing off in the GSU music building with Michelle and Alana

Trying to find to Javaology, then Java Monkey, then finally going to Java Lords and drinking fair trade chai with Michelle and Alana

Enjoying great rock music from across the street, seeing the band through the open front door

Goofing off on webcam with Alana and Glori

Spending time with the sisters and getting a delicious meal at Moe's for under 4 dollars

Playing Catch Phrase and cooking angel hair with garlic alfredo sauce for 6 sisters at ten o'clock Saturday night

Cleaning bathrooms with dear sister Debbie

Making up riddles, playing Snaps and the Line Game with the sisters at Emily's birthday party

A handful of much smaller but perhaps more meaningful moments that I can't write about here.

The fun hasn't really stopped yet. I spent pretty much all of today hanging with Spartanburg friends. First Dad and I went to see our dear friends Bill and Michelle and daughter Tifaney. Bill's battling cancer, again, but he is just so fun to be around and he has a servant's heart to which I've never seen the match. Then Grace, Bryant, Georgie and I went to the Cottonwood trail. Two of my best friends, an adorable dog, gorgeous weather and the squish and smell of fresh mud under my shoes. How could life get any better?

(photo credits to Bryant)


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