Anniversary Week – The Meeting
It all started around September 1993, while visiting my sweet friend Karen Scoggins and sharing coffee with her and another friend of ours Marie, we were also sharing prayer requests. Marie asked us to pray specifically for her brother and his fiancee. She was concerned about their pending marriage because they came from different religious backgrounds. So, when I returned home later in the day, I wrote in my prayer journal the names Terry and Patty – their pending marriage and concern over religious differences. I had no clue who I was praying for, only that my friend asked me to pray.
Fast forward to January 1994…In order to make a little side money I began office cleaning. The office I was cleaning just happened to belong to Tom, Marie’s husband. One night while cleaning, Tom and Marie popped in to pick up something. Out of the clear blue, Tom said, “According to your mom, you aren’t dating anyone. Is that correct?”
The response came quickly, “I really have no desire. I’ve only been divorced since July.”
“Well, you should go out with Marie’s brother. He just broke his engagement to his fiancée.” He replied.
“Tom, there’s no hurry. Give her some time.” Marie interjected.
“Well, you are involved in the Singles Ministry at church, aren’t you?” He asked
I responded.”Yes, I am one of the encouragers. I make phone calls and write letters to singles.”
“Well then Marie’s brother, Terry needs some encouragement to come back to church. He’s had a hard time wanting to come back. I think he gets tired of us telling him. Maybe you could contact him and invite him to come.” He said.
Without hesitation I said, “Sure, I’ll be happy to contact him.” So Marie gave me his phone number.
A couple of days later, I tried to call Terry but he wasn’t home. For the next two weeks, I would unsuccessfully try to call. No, I didn’t call every day or every other day, maybe once every 4 days. I ran into Marie at church and she said, “Have you talked to him yet?” “No, he’s never home.” I said “Please keep trying. Don’t give up.” She pleaded.
The last Saturday in January, I decided to give it one more try. I prayed before I called, “Lord, if you want me to encourage this guy to come to church, please let him be home. As I dialed the last number, my palms became clammy, my heart started racing as the voice on the other end said, “Hello!”
“May I speak to Terry?”
“Hold on a minute.” Thelma said and she held the phone down and began to yell, “Terry (came out more like “Tarry”), you got a phone call. It’s that girl again (and that would be my name for a long time with her, “That girl”)
Finally after almost 3 weeks of calling, I talked to him for the very first time. Initially it was a little awkward, but for those of you who know both of us, we like to talk. So it didn’t take long for the conversation to liven and we talked for an hour and half. By the end of the conversation, I had invited him to church on Sunday and he told me precisely where he would be sitting.
On Sunday morning, I walked into the sanctuary and there he was, sitting exactly where he said he would be with his nephews, Brad and Zach, with a smile on his fact that stretched ear to ear. After our initial introductions, he asked me where my boys were. He wanted to see them. I explained they were in their classes and he could see them another time. Then he asked the question, “Do you want to sit with us?”
Without hesitation or second thought, “No thank you. I’m sitting with friends.”
Astonished he said, “Oh, ok. Guess I’ll talk to you later. Nice meeting you.”
I didn’t give much thought to what I had just done or undone, but as sure as I am writing this, my sweet little Mama let me know very quickly that I had been rude.
“What do mean inviting someone to church and not sitting with them? What were you thinking? I can’t believe you did that to him. He’ll probably never talk to you again.” She clamored.
“Ok Mama, I get the picture. But you don’t understand, I needed to sit with my friends because one of them was joining the church today and she asked me to walk forward with her for moral support. That’s why I sat with her.” I said trying to ease her rage with me.
“Well, then you need to call him and apologize and explain that to him. If I were him, I would be very upset.”
After being raked over the coals for 30 minutes, I relented and went to call. Before I did I prayed, “Lord just give me the words to say.” I decided not to call right away after I prayed, and waited until the next day. (Maybe inwardly I thought he needed some time to think about it too)
When I called the next day, he answered the phone. It’s almost as if he knew I would call. After a couple of minutes of small talk, I got straight to the point. I apologized and explained about the events from the previous day. He accepted my apology and asked, “So, what are you doing right now?”
“Oh, I’m taking the boys to Mickey D’s to meet my friend Karen. You are welcome to come.” I quickly responded, not thinking he would take me up on it, but he did.
He came to Mickey D’s and hung out with us and met the boys. Then he asked if we could take them to the park so he could play with them for a little while before he had to be at work. So we did and he played with them for an hour or so before going to work. Later that evening, he called me….. (more to come)