Every year the family spends a week camping somewhere in the northwoods, fishing, swimming, hiking -- and, on Sunday, finding the nearest Nazarene Church.
Even when it's in Brainerd, Minnesota, an hour's drive away.
"But Nazarenes can't eat out on Sunday, so we'll have to drive back here and cook dinner!" I protest. "It will be after 2:00 when we eat!"
"Jesus prayed and fasted all night," Mom pointed out. "Besides, there might be some cute girls there."
I sigh. Not the "what girl do you like" litany again! What about cute boys?
"And what about the soulwinners? We'll be mobbed!"
"Oh, stop complaining. We'll just call ahead and tell them we're coming!"
I sigh. Not the "what girl do you like" litany again!
The most prestigious thing a Nazarene can do is soulwinning, talking sinners (which basically meant all non-Nazarenes) into accepting Jesus as their Personal Savior, thereby winning their souls for our team.
We take classes in soulwinning, hear sermons about it, read stories about it, evaluate scenario. Our Sunday School teacher often asks "How many souls did you win this week?"
Usually none at all. It's not easy. When you were 14 years old, would you have been able to walk up to this guy and say "Hi, do you have a moment to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ?"
If you aren't "spiritually mature" enough for soulwinning, you can witness instead: tell the sinner that you are ecstatically happy every moment of every day because you're saved, or just demonstrate with a broad smile. The sinner, immersed in the unrelenting agony of the unsaved life, will eventually want to know more.
When we walk through the foyer of the Brainerd Church of the Nazarene, looking for all the world like a family of sinners who stumbled in by accident, we are nearly mobbed, but the Sunday School superintendent, the one we called earlier, comes to the rescue.
"This is Brother Davis and his family, from the Rock Island Church of the Nazarene," he announces, and the wannabe soulwinners back off.
But in my Sunday School class, they haven't gotten the word.
Ten or so high schoolers are sitting on folding chairs or chatting before the class begins, and every one of them looks up and flashes me a toothy witnessing grin. Two girls and a boy approach, intent on starting soulwinning conversations.
"I'm from Rock Island..." I begin. Then a tall, black haired boy with a strong physique, obviously church royalty, leaves his cluster of admirers and exerts control. The others back off.
"Welcome! I'm Roald," he say, offering a warm, tight handshake and a more subtle witnessing smile. He's done this before! "Is this your first time?"
This could work to my advantage!
The rest of the story, with nude photos, is on Tales of West Hollywood.