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The Saga of a Home Missions Conference

The Flat, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

We had arrived in Phoenix around 4:00, checked into our hotel, and Jerry snagged a bit of rest, although he was not quite at ease. About an hour before we arrived, as we sped down the highway, Jerry had taken a phone call, asking him to be ready to speak on Friday morning. Seems Carlton Coon, the scheduled main speaker for the conference, was snow and ice-bound in the Dallas airport.

The little rest was over, and a few minutes past 5:30 found us in the lobby with our friends the Hogans joining Stacey Wiley who would drive all of us to the Rawhide, a simulated western village, where we would prowl around a little before joining the others for a Home Missions Banquet.

Jerry and I were in fine company. Gary Hogan is the district superintendent of Arizona, and his wife, Elaine, and I have been friends for a few years now.Stacey Wiley pastors a church in Peoria (Phoenix), is the Home Missions secretary, and is also a long-time friend. Several years ago, he assisted Jerry at our church in Rialto, and actually lived in our home for a number of months.

We were having a jolly time, when this rumbling noise arose–a sound as of a Harley motorcycle–except there was one major problem: no motor cycle was in sight, and the noise stayed with us.

“It’s my tire,” Stacey said, and looking carefully across the lanes of the Phoenix work traffic, he maneuvered to the side of Freeway 17.

Cheerful as always, and with a wide grin, Stacey said, “Good thing I have on jeans.”

A problem immediately presented itself, for the spare tire was stored under the truck in such a way that special tools were required to release it and bring it into sight. The men were perusing the vehicle instruction book, when a young man yelled as he was passing, “Do you need help?”

“We might,” I answered.

“I can help with that,” he said when the men explained the problem. “Just had to do it on my own vehicle.” Between three smart, strong men, the deed was done, the disintegrating tire thrown into the truck bed, and the darling spare was installed.

My men offered cash to the fine young man who had stopped, but he would have none of it. There are so many excellent, unselfish, caring people in our world. I want to be careful to remember that, and to guard against cynicism and a negative perspective about our society.

We were no longer early for the banquet and were unable to explore the Rawhide Village, and almost immediately when we entered the dining hall were seated for our meal. I choose a T-bone steak, which was juicy and perfectly grilled, and so big that I gave half of it to Jerry. He ordered fried catfish and shared one of his pieces with me, but I could not eat it–too much food.

I snapped a couple of shots on our way out after the scrumptious meal. Looks intriguing, huh? Oh, well, maybe next time I’ll investigate the whole place

Jerry did a fine job this morning, as did Gary Hogan and Paul Conner. Poor Brother Coon…still in icy Dallas, or headed back to St. Louis, I suppose. They’re flying in someone from California I believe for the concluding service tonight.


My devotional blog is here.