I hope that I do not put too much into this but it just needs to be said. The love and admiration that I have for these two and their family cannot be expressed in mere words. I met Chris in the summer of 2006 at the former home of our local community theater at auditions for a show (I still feel that the greatest thing that came from whatever show it was did not happen on stage).. Chris served as vocal director and Teen Angel of the show. After the auditions were complete, we walked up from the basement and chatted. He knew that he remembered me from somewhere. It took him a moment but I was “that friendly Wal*Mart guy.” I had a small cameo role in the show and served as stage manager but at one of the performances, my new friend asked what I was going to try out for next. At one of the after show meet and greets, he introduced me to his wife who was in the final days of child number 3 pregnancy and Lisa remembered me as “that friendly Wal*Mart guy” as well.
That season, I was in a bunch of shows but in that year, I made some of the best friends I have ever had. The amazing thing is that they often hosted cast parties and weekend game nights. They are so welcoming and inviting to anyone they come in contact with. Their door is always open to anyone… even while raising four children, Luke (their youngest and craziest), and pets (some have gone but they seem to add at least one for the ones no longer with them). People from all walks of life living in a small community would come together. While it seemed that we all had theater as a common bond, Chris and Lisa embraced each for our differences as well. Black, white; male/female; children/adults(?); religion, whatever differences there were never mattered. Some Mormon missionaries who live across the street are periodic guests at the Christian home.
I know I have mentioned this in at least one previous post but I can never thank Chris and Lisa for everything they have watched me, personally, go through. Praying and standing by my side as I told them about my friend and mentor who eventually was called home after her bout with leukemia. Praying for and asking about my own Dad who has had some health issues and my Mom who has so much going on at any given moment. And Chris even shared the same hospital with me when I was in for a blood clot and he was in for pneumonia. Not to mention trips to Florida (the plane trip being the cause of the blood clot) and NYC and so SO SOOOOOOOOO MUCH MORE THAN THAT!
I could not have been more honored and blessed when he asked me to get on board for Disciple Days that was founded on July 19, 2012. Chris and Lisa have answered His calling to announce the Good News to us all and at the same time having fun activities to accompany it. At the beginning of October, I learned that the month was dedicated to Pastor Appreciation. I knew that I had to do something for both of them to show how much everyone who has ever come to an event on Saturday night love not only what they have built but that it is based on something that Chris and Lisa were called to do from God, himself.
I consider myself a romantic at heart so I like to think that behind every great man is an even better woman (I think Chris would agree). What can I say about Lisa? She truly is the glue that hold their family together. Her Facebook profile lists her job title as SAHM (“Stay At Home Mom). I sincerely believe that she goes far above and beyond that description. She is also a teacher (as part of a co-op of home schooled children), cheerleader, encourager, and ear lender. I have been there for her lending an ear in times when Chris was not at home. I know of very few couples who serve as an extension of each other. When one is away, the absence is felt. There have been a few times when Chris has been away and Lisa would reach out on line and chat to lift some (not a lot) of that empty feeling. Of course, the reverse is true. Lisa and the girls have gone on Zoo Snoozes (overnight excisions to an area zoo) and I have either been asked to go to he house and play a game, help with the other kids, help prepare the house for a new little arrival, or just talk.
As I began to formulate something special, I quickly realized that I was not going to be able to do this without some assistance. So I sought out all the adults who are frequent Disciple Day event comers. Elizabeth, Tara, Keith, Heather, Christina, and Sandy were all remarkable in their assistance in not only putting it together but also keeping it on the QT. I also asked Lisa for input as well… but not until the last minute so as not to spoil the surprise. We finally decided on putting together a video of the most memorable of the 525,600 photos we have taken at Slip ‘n’ Slides into the New Year, Famine Games, Laser Tags, holidays, and other events. We set the 300+ we had decided on to some Christian-based songs and added some bible verses throughout. The result is 15 minutes of laughter and tear inducing fun.
For her part, Sandy created a beautiful wooden plaque complete with a few lines which perfectly illustrate what God has done for all of us through Chris and Lisa over the past few years. I ventured over the Tuesday before the big reveal to see the progress of the plaque and it already looked gorgeous but Sandy informed me that it still needed some finishing touches.
On Friday night, Elizabeth, Heather, Tara, Keith, and I met to put the video together. It took a few hours of trial and error with the editing of the music; putting the music in the right places; discovering how to add the verses; and finishing it off with a brilliant Star Wars-inspired crawl. At 11;30, we had it!
Shortly after arriving at the church gym for the night’s event, Elizabeth asked me how in the world we were going to show the video. By some miracle, Pastor Kevin was at the church and helped us set the church’s A/V equipment to project the video. Leaving Elizabeth in the sanctuary to get it set up, I returned to the gym so as not to arouse any curiosity. It was an added bonus to have Lisa’s sister Kim, brother-in-law Tim, and their boys and new puppy there as well!
Finally, the moment had arrived. After the hot dogs and other goodies were eaten, Chris began to get the evening’s activities rolling with a prayer. After the prayer, I presented him with the plaque and the cards which many of the children created. Elizabeth secretly told me that we were still not ready for the video. But it did not take long before we all paraded into the sanctuary for the video. It is just so gratifying to thank people who have done so much to “Go and Make Disciples” out of pure selflessness and love of God. You both are so loved!
“And I will you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.” (Jeremiah 3:15)
Here’s to 525,600 moments of photos, laughs, tears, and becoming and making more disciples young and old from wherever they come from. We all love you my brother and sister!