Because of my standby reservation, I was the last person to board the Virgin Airline’s Airbus A320. One hundred and forty-five other passengers walked ahead of me to their seats. I looked at my boarding pass − Row 24 Seat B − and tried to look over shoulders and heads for my seat, but my five feet three inches of stature hindered my efforts. I eventually arrived at my seat, lifted my black suitcase into the overhead storage compartment, and squeezed past the outside passenger’s long legs into the seat.
The young sailor with a shaved head in Seat A by the window looked up from his iPad and nodded at me. The lanky man to my right, sitting by the aisle in Seat C, paid no attention and opened his iPad, connecting to the Internet through Virgin’s free WiFi service. Both put headphones on as soon as the plane taxied toward the runway.
I reached down and pulled a Michael Connelly paperback novel out of my purse, but the Harry Bosch story failed to hold my interest for long. My mind kept wandering back over Dylan’s and my off-the-beaten-path spiritual journey.
It all began when Dylan walked out of Jedidiah Smith Community Church on that first Sunday in June three years earlier when the new pastor preached his first sermon. Dylan explained that he couldn’t listen to another sermon while he ignored the Lord’s voice telling him to branch off into a different type of church ministry. That different type of ministry ended up being a home church, which we called Last Chance. Two senior couples joined us in the new venture: Phil and Faye Strawmeier and Vinnie and Gracie Nguyen. Both couples had been four of our closest friends for years. Others joined our house church so that the original assembly now numbered eighteen people.
But it was Pamela Walter’s words to Dylan and me just before she died which stirred Dylan’s heart. “The Lord wants the Last Chance groups, like yours, to spread all along the West Coast, from San Diego to Seattle. He wants to use senior citizens as His last chance army to touch millions of people −” she said.
Dylan interrupted her and explained we didn’t know how to do something like that.
I still remember her words: “Shush! Of course, you don’t, but He knows how to do it. Fast and pray and He will show you.”
Then, she died.
Dylan focused his life on obeying Pamela’s prophetic words to us from that moment forward. He fasted, prayed, studied the word, and continually sought the Lord on what we needed to do. His seeking led to three new groups being started: one in Hemet, Lake Elsinore, and Corona.
I went along with whatever Dylan wanted, not because I heard the Lord’s voice for myself or even felt impressed to do so. I just trusted that Dylan had heard the Lord’s voice and followed him. Maybe I caved in too easily rather than seeking the Lord on my own, but that’s how I handled it.
But when Dylan said he felt the Lord wanted us to plant Last Chance home churches in San Francisco, I was shocked. As he spoke his vision to me, I comforted myself by figuring it would be years before we reached the Bay area. Yet, two days later, he received an invitation to speak at a Business Men’s Fellowship luncheon in China Town. He left a week later, hoping doors would open for Last Chance groups in San Francisco.
I watched him leave and waved at him, but in my heart, I prayed nothing special would happen. I hoped it would be a nice trip for Dylan but nothing more. Nothing more at all.
Maybe you think I’m selfish and maybe I am. But I am seventy-three years old and so is Dylan. I want to get off this spiritual merry-go-round and enjoy life again. I want to travel to Branson, Lake Tahoe, Las Vegas, and even Paris or London. I want to enjoy our sunset years without worrying about jail or confrontations or planting more home churches. Why not? We deserve it, don’t we?
(A new sequel to Unhitched Geeser, which can be checked out here.)
(Continued in Part 8…the first 9 parts are reruns and can be read here.)