It was time to stop, and we really wanted to dry camp someplace...but along I-70 east of Kansas City you just don't run across Wal-Mart Supercenters, which is our favorite spot. So we decided to pull off at Concordia MO.
Now Concordia is not very far from Marshall MO, where we spent 13 fabulous years...and when you live that close, there was never any reason to go to Concordia, so we were not familiar with it...except to know that it is a strong Lutheran community with several Lutheran churches and schools...its lovely in appearance, clean, well-kept homes...and as we drove around on this Sunday evening, we couldn't locate the city park, so I offered to go up to a home and see if the folks would mind us parking on the street at the side of their home. And here was a nice home on a huge lot with adults in the driveway--perfect.
As I walked over towards them, the gentleman walked towards me..and I ask him if he would mind if we parked on his side street. He suggested traffic was a little heavy on that street, why not use the church parking lot. I had not noticed there was a church on the other side of his house. He tells me he is the pastor (first God-incidence)...so I tell him my husband is a retired Presby pastor (who is very good at flunking retirement!)...he says he holds dual membership, Disciples of Christ and Congregational, and this is a Congregational church he is serving. So we check out the parking lot...it wouldn't work for our size...so he sends us to the Community Center parking lot across the street.
Now we are set up, sitting in our lawn chairs enjoying the Missouri breeze and cool evening, and he walks over to tell us he has notified the Police that we are there with his permission, and all will be well. He meets Jerry...and finds that Jerry is an AAMFT counselor, while he is a Pastoral Counselor with a small practice in Blue Springs (God-incidence #2). He asked about Jerry's pastorates, and when Jerry said "Enid OK", he says he is a graduate of Phillips Seminary (God-incidence #3..since I was Registrar at Phillips for several years), so he and I share names of acquaintances. And then we start on the pastor friends we share (God-incidence #4)--Dave Carter in Hobart OK, Lloyd Gentry in Aurora MO, Bob Sweeten in Marshall MO - all Disciples and all pastors our new friends knows.
We swapped cards and thanked him profusely for his hospitality, had a great night's sleep, and were on the road when he called to check on us. Thank you, Dr. Alan Gatewood, pastor of the Bethel United Church of Christ, Concordia MO.
Once again, there is NOTHING like the Family of God!