A very kind lady in a church was encouraging me a few nights ago. She was telling me how much she loves our singing and preaching and our family ministry in general. She was exceedingly kind in her evaluation of us.
During the conversation, she said, "I could never live and travel like you all do." Of course, I said, "That is OK, we could never live like you do, staying in one spot all the time."😀
Our life is a little out of the norm, I suppose, but it is our life. We are getting to do what we are called to do and there are so many things about it that we love. We love the travel, we love seeing new things, visiting new places, eating new foods, going to new churches and experiencing new things.
The best part of our life, though, is all about the people. We have met and been loved by many, many wonderful people all over America and around the world. In nearly every state there are churches where we feel comfortable and safe among friends that hold us up and pray us through. That is a huge bonus in life!
The last few days I have been thinking about the wonderful people that have been brought into our lives. God ordained men and women to cross our paths and work their way into our hearts. These thoughts reminded me of a story I told here several years ago.
The first night of Dryden Rd. Camp meeting in August of 1993 I saw an old friend from Keller, Texas. He had not been to camp meeting before so I made a point to speak to him and make him feel welcome at my home church. I was so thrilled to see him. His first words to me were these, "Davy boy, I drove a thousand miles to hug your neck and tell you that I love you." Then he did it. He hugged my neck and told me he loved me.
I was just about speechless because I could tell that he meant every word he said. Add to that the fact that I did not feel like I had very many friends at that moment. (Of course, I had more friends than I knew about.) We visited a few minutes until my responsibilities and his desire to leave and get some rest pulled us apart.
I looked for him the next day but he was not there. He was not there for the rest of the week. I called him the next week and asked what happened to him. Did he get sick? Did he go somewhere else? He said, "Davy boy, I told you I drove a thousand miles to hug your neck and tell you I love you. I did it and then I came back home."
If I thought I was speechless the week before, I was really speechless then. What kind of man drives 2000 miles round trip to hug me and tell me he loves me? What kind of man does that? A man that is a true friend, that is who does that. Only a man that believes in me does that. I knew that day I had a true friend. I knew he believed in me.
I took courage from that extreme act of kindness. I knew if God inspired friends like that to help me then God must intend for me to make it. I knew there were good men that were willing to go to bat for me. I knew they were "on my side." I knew that God must be "on my side" too. For the first time in several weeks, I had confidence that I could be an overcomer, I could win. My friend did all of that for me by driving a thousand miles, hugging me, telling me he loved me and then going back home!
I have rehearsed that story in my mind a thousand times. I have told it personally from the pulpit dozens of times. It is a story I will continue to tell as long as I have memory and breath. It is a story of friendship, loyalty and love. I can not believe I have friends that love me that much, but I do. Wow!
My friend, Bro. L.C. Clounch passed away in the fall of 2013. We were in Florida when he passed. In fact, we were in service with his baby granddaughter and her family that night. I will miss my friend until I see him again.
His dear widow drove up from Texas to visit family and be with us during tent revival in Oklahoma City in 2014. She brought me one of Bro. L.C.'s pocket knives. You see, Bro. L.C. was all about pocket knives. Where Bro. L.C was there were knives, talk about knives and swapping knives. Sis. Clounch said as she handed me one of his knives, "Somebody SENT this to you."
I tell you I was overwhelmed again. I held in my hand a piece of my amazing friend. I knew it would be a constant tangible reminder of his extreme friendship. I will always cherish that knife.
I was overwhelmed when she handed it to me but not as overwhelmed as I was going to be in a few minutes. Sis. Clounch and her son began to tell me the rest of the story behind that trip to Ohio in 1993. Bro. L.C. felt impressed by God to drive that thousand miles to hug my neck and tell me he loved me but there was one small problem. They did not have the money to make a big trip like that. What did he do?
Bro. L.C. went to the bank and borrowed the money to drive 2000 miles round trip just to encourage a preacher that needed it desperately. Are you crying yet? I am slobbering all over the keyboard as I try to type this. He borrowed the money so he could drive all that distance for me. Wow again!
I owe you big time, Bro. L.C.!
Bro. and Sis. Clounch November 2012
What a friend!
God bless you for reading,