mentors and memories

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last weekend was my high school reunion. class of 1979! it was a terrific weekend of re-connecting with old friends. it was so refreshing, and comforting even, to be with people who had not only gone through adolescence with me, but who have also now survived so many other of life’s events.

at our 10th reunion, and again at our 20th, there seemed to be more tension. more competition, more posturing. but not this time. before, it was: who has the better job, the better spouse, the better life? but time has tempered us, and even people who hardly spoke to one another in high school were hugging one another, showing genuine interest, listening to one another’s stories of joy and of pain.

[proof: my daughter ashley was accepted into UNCG yesterday afternoon, and by this morning, over a dozen of my classmates had sent congratulations.]

i was grieved when it finally ended. was one of the last to leave the saturday night party around 12:45AM, and the after party around 2. i just didn’t want it to be over. there was something special there.

one of the highlights of the weekend was having breakfast on saturday morning with my campaigner group. that’s what they call small groups in the YoungLife world. 30 years after, i still don’t know why…

we met at tex & shirley’s at friendly center in greensboro: stephen, roger, tol, tom, jeff b, and me… oh, and billy. can’t forget billy.

billy drove 3 hours that morning to meet with us at 8AM.

i met billy when i was 15. he was 22. right out of college without a job, other than to try to do the impossible: turn horny adolescent boys into followers of Jesus. we met with billy and our campaigner group in the basement of stephen’s house at 6:30, one a morning a week. a great time to lead a bible study with 9th grade boys – they won’t talk back.

they’re asleep.

at our breakfast last week, we all agreed that apart from a couple of bible verses, none of us remembers a thing billy ever said to us on those mornings. i do remember things he said at camp though:

“after breakfast, go scrape the mung off your teeth and then meet on the hill for field games!”

honestly, one of us, at least, did fall asleep every week. but over the course of three years, something happened. we all began to follow Christ. more remarkably, we all still do. and so do our kids. from our little group of 8 or 10 (a few didn’t make the reunion), 3 of us are now pastors, and the others are all involved strongly in their churches. it’s safe to say that our little group has impacted hundreds of people for Christ… thanks to billy.

billy sat with me one morning at camp as i committed my life to Jesus for a lifetime. billy took us on outings and showed us that being a Christian didn’t have to be boring. billy cared about us, supported us, and prayed for us. and now – 30 years later – parts of the world are better and more godly because this alligator-shirt wearing disciple said yes to God’s call on his life.

mentors and memories.

not gonna draw any parallels for you this morning. you can do that on your own.

just wanted to tell the stories…

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1 Response to mentors and memories

  1. David Williams says:

    jeff, great story, and oh so similar to our group with Lyston.(G.Page, Talley, C. Miller, A. Jones, D. Chamblee) Was so good to see you at the reunion, even though it was a brief. Agreed, everyone seemed to let down the barriers a bit this year which is a breath of fresh air. Take care my brother, hope to see you again before the 40 yr get together.

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