I had plenty of reasons not to go.
It was Sunday night. I had led singing Sunday morning. Jorge and Paula came home for lunch. Then we all went to the Taubate church — a forty-minute drive –, where I led singing and preached. Then a drive back to Sao Jose dos Campos in weekend traffic on Brazil’s busiest highway.
I was dieting. I had already lost five or six pounds, had a good momentum going, didn’t want to spoil it with soft drinks, fried foods, and cake.
I was tired. The day before, I’d spent eight hours teaching my Total Transformation course. On my flat feet. In extreme heat.
I was frustrated. Two years of teaching, on and off, with no commitment so far. Two years of cheesy pizza, kid’s birthday parties, and, yes, I must admit, enjoyable company.
I hate parties. Especially catered kids’ parties at rented facilities. Parties are loud, with lots of people, kids yelling and screaming, guests drinking too much and thinking they’re giving you the Latest Wisdom in slurred speech.
But I went anyway. After all, it was Amanda’s birthday. And we like her parents, Anibal and Ana Paula, consider them friends, enjoy their company, even if they haven’t made the Decision.
So straight from church service in Taubate, we headed to Amanda’s catered party.
As I parked the car in the street outside the buffet house, I had a strange urge to carry my Bible in with me. With only my six-inch-thick study Bible available, I figured you’d have to be a real Bible thumper to do such a thing.
Besides, nobody can hear anything at one of these shindigs anyway.
So I left it in the car.
After greetings all around, we settled in at the table where our neighbors, Edson and Denise, mutual friends of Anibal and Ana Paula’s, were sitting.
Not three sentences into the conversation, Edson looks me in the eye and says, “Randal, by June, after I take care of some unfinished business, I’m going to change my life.”
Well, I jumped on that quick.
Shortly thereafter, he asks, “You have a Bible with you?”
After multiple self-flaggelations, I see he doesn’t let my lack of a Bible under my arm deter him. We spend the next hour and a half talking about God. At a loud kiddie birthday party.
The next night, Vicki and I sit down to study the Bible with Edson and Denise.
And I almost didn’t go to the birthday party.
“The Son of Man came eating and drinking” (Matthew 11:19).
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