Our van was fully loaded and our trailer was ¾’s loaded with our luggage. Our first stop was in
We made it to
Once we arrived at the right Super 8, as usual, the huge language barrier presented some great challenges. Furthermore to complicate matters, it was 104 degrees and the humidity was stifling which helped to wilt so our patience. So the scenic route, the heat, and the language barrier compounded matters. Although I did try to maintain some sense of composure when the fellow told me that an additional $90 charge was needed, I had a momentary flashback. This flashback took me back 12 years or so to a 2:00 AM meeting in Gastonia, NC to when this fellow told me, “I gi’e you good deal, mon!” The “good deal, mon!” was an incredible rip-off for a room that was built in the early 1900’s, had dim bulb lights in the ceiling, and an accompanying smell of some toxic bug spray. So my nerves started jangling.
Then when we get checked in, the folks would not give any extra towels to Caleb Stark. So I ended up having to go down and work through a language barrier and do a math lesson for the fellow to get more towels. . . . This was successful.
In addition to all of this we were trying to find Jeff Sully but my phone battery had died and I was unable to reach him in the van. So we started playing phone tag until finally we managed to get through and we decided that we would meet him at the registration desk at the Bobcat Arena.
We quickly changed and ducked out in the heat and wilted down again. In transit to the Arena, I told our bunch that obviously the frustrations and aggravations that we had encountered meant that we were going to get a whole lot out of it. As the night developed, I realized this was definitely the case.
When we arrived, there was a huge crowd waiting to get in. The reason that the crowd was so backed up was because of security checks to get everyone into the building. It was almost like the security checks at the airports that we “enjoyed” on the missions trip to
Once we got in the doors, Mark Aplin saved the day for us. He had ten lanyards and badges that he did not need so we managed to purchase all ten from him for $30 instead of $50 dollars. This was fantastic! Also, I forgot in the rush this morning to get our V.I.P. stickers for our Top Twenty SFC giver (we were 16th) and I managed to get them from the registration desk and we had good seats for the night.
We are looking from the side at mid-court or so and we are fairly close the platform as you will see in the video clips. I just thought we were loud in
The night opened up with a fellow encouraging prayer and overall he did a pretty good job with a very challenging job. His job was to get all the folks toward their seats and to get those who were milling around to find somewhere to go. After about seven or eight minutes of focused prayer the majority of the crowd had settled into their seats. I would think that probably ¾’s of the lower three levels of the Arena were filled.
Jonathon Dean, who works with the Pentecostals of Alexandria, is responsible for the music this year. All-in-all, he did well with leading worship tonight (Part Two is here). I can tell that I am aging because about ½ or more of the songs, I was clueless as to the words. However, it doesn’t take long to get a grip on the 7-11 choruses and I recovered nicely although I am not sure if Wayne Worley (who was on my left) and Jeremy McCoy (who was on my right) appreciated my recovery. The good thing is that they did not tell me what my wife tells me, “Don’t sing in the mic!”
The offering was taken up by Simeon Young who obviously works well with Adobe Photoshop (or knows someone who does) because he managed to put Wayne Francis’, Shay Mann, and Todd Gaddy’s faces on the bills. Pretty nifty stuff!
After the offering, Jonathon Dean pulled off an incredible feat. He pulled an old hymn out of his hat and took the roof off with it. After one of the early verses in the song, a large cross started descending from the ceiling which added to the effect of the song. Pretty powerful stuff!
Then to follow up this powerful time of worship, Joel Urshan (grandson of the former General Superintendent of UPCI, N. A. Urshan) preached an incredible message. He caused me to reminisce some of the times that I heard Brother Urshan preach. He was always very doctrinal and very biblical in his delivery. His grandson was no less. He preached on “Living Stones Ready to Rock My World.” He took his text from 1 Peter 2:1-9. It was an excellent message that Power Supply will probably get to see later on this year. One of the thrilling things to see was a lingering altar service that occurred at the end of Brother Urshan’s preaching. He also told a very powerful story about his great-grandfather, A. D. Urshan (Part 1, Part 2). God also spends time "carving" things into our lives. Furthermore, we are the people of the Name!
On our way out of the Arena, I ran into Jeremy Price, who is a class-act (even if his brother-in-law is a little suspect [Joel Mitchell]) and his wife who pastor in
We also collected our notebooks for tomorrow on our way out. When we finally cleared the Arena and made it back to our exit, all of the fast-food places were closed. So we went to a
Once we returned to the motel, Jeremy and Justin decide they will attempt to get some more towels. This activity was video-ed and I will let you determine if they were successful or not!
Until tomorrow. . . To Be Continued! . . . . . .