(This is the third blog in a series of blogs...if you are a first time reader, scroll down to the prologue and start there!)
Jack emailed us that the church in Tyler wanted us to visit over Easter weekend. He didn't know exactly what we would be able to do while we were there, or who we would be able to meet...but could we come?
Sure. I was cautiously optimistic. Heavy on the caution...we'd been through this so many times. It was sometimes painful to get your hopes up.
We drove into Tyler in the late afternoon and were directed to the church building. (Thank you, Tanner) The church ate together on Wednesday nights and it would give us an initial opportunity to meet folks. I smiled at alot of faces while trying to feed my 4yr old and 2 yr old chicken spaghetti. (Did I mention I was HUGELY pregnant!)
The associate minister was visiting with my husband and I overheard snatches of the conversation. "...give you about five minutes....question answer format...really informal...intial introduction..."
We were directed into the auditorium and sat down towards the front (mother of toddlers nightmare---the FRONT of an auditorium of people you'd like to make a nice impression on---egads!) As the minister began to introduce my husband, I noticed three stools in the front...one for the minister, one for my husband and... who is supposed to sit on that other one?....oh no! Yep.
"Come on down Cheryl. We want to put YOU on the spot!" (many thanks Rob!)
I waddled up to the front and my loving husband quickly handed me the microphone FIRST. Great.
I think I said something about world peace. (thanks for the tip Aunt Pat)
Jeff said some good things, we passed the microphone around a bit and then Rob asked if the congregation had any questions.
The first question came from an older gentleman near the back. He said, "What can we give to you?" (precious Jim Welch...in Heaven right now....giving to someone, I'm sure....)
We answered something about prayer and encouragement...
The older gentleman shook his head and said, "No. I mean financially. What would it take for this church to take care of your family in every way?"
Uhhhhmmmm....what did he say? Rob said, "Jim, we'll get Jeff to write the details of his financial needs down for us."
I remember hands going up all over the auditorium and us answering questions right and left. Rob ended the worship time with prayer and people came from every direction. We talked and hugged and were loved on and EMBRACED.
As we drove to Jack and Tootsie's house later that night, Jeff asked me what I thought.
I said, " I feel like we've come home." He said that he felt the same way.