Chapter Twenty

Fortunately for Ben the jeep started right away. The old Willy’s had a starter on the floorboard that sometimes made it challenging to start, especially when in a hurry. He sure wasn’t going to win any speed races with the six cylinder and the low gears, but it got him away from his dad’s fury. He had never seen his dad that upset before and wanted to put some time and distance between each other for a while. This whole episode came about so suddenly throwing him for a loop. He needed some place to stay to gather his thoughts. His only refuge was at Susan’s place where she lived with her mom, Heidi, in Kuna.

Ben called Susan and told her what had happened. She wasn’t overly surprised that Ben’s folks responded like that. They were more conservative than most people.

“Wow Ben. What are you going to do?” she asked.

“I don’t know. I know I am not going back there until things calm down though. I have never seen my dad so mad. I really set him off.” Ben answered.

“I wonder if mom would let you stay in our barn for a while. We could clean out the loft and the old office. There is a bathroom and a shower in there too. That would be so awesome to have you here!”

“But Susan, how is your mom going to respond when she finds out that we got caught having sex behind the church?” he asked.

“Oh she would be furious for having sex and getting caught in the church parking lot, but not because we had sex. She thought we have been having sex for the last six months! When we went to Bend at Christmas, we talked about it. She didn’t believe me when I said we hadn’t done it. She even offered to put me on the pill. Some of that was to regulate my monthly period, but she did say that she didn’t want me having an accident.” Susan explained. “Let me talk to Mom. I bet she will be okay with it, she likes you. Come on over here and by the time you get here I will know something. Just don’t say her anything about getting caught in the church parking lot!” Susan laughed.

It was about an hour drive over to Kuna and Ben needed the time to process everything that had happened earlier that morning. It seemed like his whole life was falling apart. Now his folks were upset with him which would have an adverse effect on school. It was a strange turn of events and he didn’t know what to do. Why was having pre-marital sex such a big deal anyway?

Heidi was working with a three year old sorrel in the round pen when Susan came out to talk to her.

“Mom, can I talk to you?”

The sorrel was trotting around in circles clock-wise, then Heidi gave it a command turning it to gallop in the opposite direction. The horse had worked up a sweat and was getting tired. Heidi dropped her hands to her side and the sorrel stopped, turned and walked towards her. “Good boy” she whispered, clipping the lead rope to the halter she led the horse out of the round pen toward the pasture. “What do you need honey?”

Susan walked along with Heidi to the lush green pasture opening the gate for her. “Well, Ben and his folks got in kind of an argument and Ben left home. He just called me and told me about it. He is coming over here right now and I told him that I would talk to you.”

“Oh that’s too bad. What did they get in an argument about?” Heidi asked.

“Well, Ben told them that we were having sex.”

“Oh! Yeah, I bet that didn’t go over well with Robin!” Heidi exclaimed. “What was he thinking?”

“Obviously he wasn’t. Anyway, I guess they got in a huge argument and Sam got very angry with him. It scared Ben so bad he jumped in the truck and got out of there. He doesn’t have a place to go right now and I was wondering if it would be alright if he stayed in the barn for a few days?

“Hmmm… I am sorry to hear about that. He is such a good boy. I guess we can talk about it when he gets here.”

Heidi liked Ben a lot. He was hard working, smart and had more character than most grown men she knew. She had always hoped that Susan and Ben would stay together and eventually get married. With him heading off to school in Moscow next year would determine where their relationship was going. He was a good looking young man and the college ladies would be all over him. Susan still had one year of high school and Heidi hoped that she would stay focused on Ben while he was gone to Moscow.

Heidi had given birth to Susan when she was seventeen, Susan’s age now, and had raised her on her own. It hadn’t always been easy. There had been a couple of guys that lived with them over the years as Susan was growing up and Susan had gotten very attached to them. When they left, it had been difficult for the little girl. She had always wanted a daddy like everyone else and as she got older Heidi could see that Susan could tend to be a little promiscuous desiring that male companionship most girls got from their dad. It didn’t help that she was well developed and quite attractive. There was never a shortage of suitors until Ben came along. Ben’s calm demeanor had an effect on Susan and having him around made Heidi’s life with her daughter a lot easier. Heidi was surprised that Ben had left home over an argument. They were such a solid and stable family although she did think Robin was a little too strict with her Christianity sometimes.

“C’mon in Ben!” Heidi hollered over the barking dogs. She was pouring glasses of iced sun tea for all of them and offered one to Ben, “How are you doing Ben?”

Ben sat down at the counter next to Susan. “Well it has been some kind of day, that’s for sure!”

“Ya, that’s what Susan was saying. She said you left in kind of a hurry. Did you pack a suitcase?”

Ben laughed and said, “I forgot it under my bed; along with my toothbrush.”

“That’s a strange place to leave your toothbrush.” Smiling at Ben. “I am sorry you’re going though this right now Ben. Those rough discussions are hard on everyone and yet it is part of cutting the apron strings. I am sure your folks are concerned. Have you talked to them?”

“No, Dad is pretty mad at me.” Susan kicked Ben under the counter and Ben looked at Susan. She shot him a look that said, be careful what you say!

“I said some things that I probably shouldn’t have said.” Ben continued.

Heidi was at the sink washing up vegetables for dinner. “We all say things like that once in a while and it usually bites us in the butt. Then you have to go back later to eat crow.” Turning back towards them she said, “after you do that about half of your life, you learn that what you’re thinking is usually best left unsaid!”

Ben laughed, relaxing him. “The problem is that we don’t agree on a whole lot anymore.”

Heidi said, “Yup, every person comes to a point in their life where they have to stand up for what they believe in. But you can’t be standing in someone else’s front yard expecting them to change to how you believe.”

“Yeah, I think that is what dad was kind of saying.” Ben took a big drink of iced tea. “Heidi, I need a place to stay until things cool down a little.”

“Well Ben, you’re more than willing to stay in the barn. There is a shower and a bathroom out there. Susan will get you a towel and washcloths. It probably needs to be cleaned up some. You probably need to let your mom know that you’re okay. It isn’t fair to let her worry no matter how much you don’t agree with her.”

“Okay, thank you.”

Susan and Ben went to the barn to clean up the place for Ben.

Heidi texted Robin, “Ben is here n sleepn in the barn 2night. Wanted u 2 know”.

Robin responded immediately, “Thank u Heidi!”

After dinner Ben went to bed thinking of what Heidi said about calling his mom. He was still upset about her holding him to walking the Christian walk that he really didn’t want to call her, at least not yet anyway. He wanted to make her suffer a little bit. She just didn’t understand his life. It was too difficult to walk according to the standards that she held. Besides, it was easy for her because she already had a family. She didn’t have to go out in the world and deal with people like he did especially heading to college now. College was more liberal than her way of life. She had no idea how hard it was when you’re the only one standing out from the crowd because you did everything right. Ben was tired of getting teased all the time. His mom was out of touch with reality now days.

Truthfully what bothered him the most was he knew  if he went back home, his parents would make him talk to Pastor Mike about Cory and Monica living together. Tyler would think he was a snitch and Cory was a pretty popular guy in the church. He was the “Man of God” everyone wanted to be like. All of the youth group guys thought Monica was really hot too. If he said something about their relationship he could just imagine the crap he would take. The thought of all the guys in youth group coming down on him was too much.

Robin was in bed next to Sam who was sound asleep. She was praying quietly, tears in her eyes, a heaviness in her heart, like a piece of her soul was missing, “Lord please watch over Ben. Keep him in your hands and a firm hand on his path.” as she drifted off to sleep.

Chapter Fifteen

Heidi was already at a table in the corner drinking a latte when Robin walked in. She left her order for a chocolate mocha at the counter and joined her.

“How are you doing?” Robin asked her, “Have you settled in after the holidays?”

“Yes, it has been nice to get the holidays behind and get back into the routine again. How about you? How are you and Sam doing?”

Robin told her about her phone conversation with Erica and the young lady who had walked off the street into their bible study. “Erica says that she is positive that this young lady has been completely cured of her addiction to Meth! Poor girl has nowhere to go that she has been living on the street for over a year now. For the last couple of days she has been staying at Erica’s place sleeping on the couch. It is crazy but she has been reading the bible nonstop since she got there. Erica hinted that maybe she could come to the farm and stay with Sam and I until she can get on her feet. I am going to ask Sam tonight. I am not sure how he is going to take it. You know how he feels about drugs. She could relapse and that could be a mess. Oh that reminds me”, said Robin, “Do you have any information on Broken Lives Fellowship Group?”

“Actually I do” Heidi said “When I was in California at that revival Pastor Rob Landon from Bridal Ridge Christian Church was there and he spoke about it. He was telling the audience how humbly proud he was to announce that Broken Lives Recovery Fellowship was in almost every church in the country now and their success rate was astounding on addiction recovery. I haven’t been there for years but I am positive that the group still meets at Seven Mile and probably uses the same curriculum that Rob wrote.

“Hold on, Rob Landon is connected to Broken Lives? I knew he wrote “A Well Designed Life” but I didn’t know that he was involved with Broken Lives.”

Yes, Heidi confirmed “Bridal Ridge wrote the material that we used in Broken Lives Fellowship Group when we were there. That was Rob Landon’s message at the Valley Revival how the material he wrote for “the program” was in nearly every church in the country and that Broken Lives program had been significantly if not entirely responsible for the transformation of up to eighty percent of the broken homes and restoring families. It is making a significant impact on the churches and communities across the nation. To hear him talk about it, it is probably global now.”

“Hmm…” Robin wondered, “I heard some time ago that Pastor Rob was coming alongside the Most Holy Bishop in France. He was reaching out to bring Muslims, Christians and Holy Mother of Apostles together and had implied that we all serve the same God! I also heard that he said in an interview that gays would go to heaven. I have friends that are all worked up over that! ”

“I didn’t hear any one mention that at the Valley Revival.” Heidi said.

Robin got her phone out of her purse and searched the internet for the Valley Revival. When she found it she played it for both of them watching as the Bishop pronounced on stage how he wished to honor Protestant’s faith and beliefs with a holy kiss claiming that both faiths had common ground and needed to acknowledge their differences to be unified together.”

Listening to it made Robin’s stomach churn and she told Heidi “Oh! That is just not right! In the book of Revelation an angel reprimanded John twice for bowing down to him. This is way off here!”

Robin continued to search and then handing the phone to Heidi said “Oh it looks like I am not the only one that thinks this is warped” People are talking about this everywhere!

Something’s not right here, I have been hearing about this “Chrislam” movement that is spreading through churches today. It is like a unified tolerance for all of the world’s religions covered by love and it is actually blurring the lines to say that we all serve the same God. From what I have studied that is not possible! I am not saying that we shouldn’t love anyone at all. We need to. Jesus called us to. But we are also called to give and account for what the gospel stands for and that is not compromising with other religions.”

Robin thought for a moment while the waitress brought her Mocha over. After she had left, Robin said to Heidi, “I think this may be what Paul was talking about the apostasy or the falling away of the church in 2 Thessalonians 2:3. Do you suppose that we could be seeing the beginning stages of the one world religion?”

“I don’t’ know Robin” Heidi had concern on her face “How can this be? I mean, are you saying that all of those people are not saved? I am not sure that I agree with that.”

“Absolutely not” Robin said “At least not yet anyway. But I am wondering if there isn’t a sinister deception taking place in many of the churches. Heidi, Satan has been at this a long time and he knows his time is short. I mean, he convinced a third of the angels in heaven to turn away from God and they even lived with Him! In Heaven! So really, who are we? Do we really think that we are wiser than the angels that dwelt with God?” Robin paused taking a sip of her coffee. “Heidi, think about this, we rely on the Holy Spirit dwelling inside of us to reveal deception? But we will not hear His prompting if we are not spending time reading the word. I would wager that a majority of Christians are not studying their bibles and do not get on their knees to pray every day.

“Well I know I am in a lull right now. I just started that job in Kuna and have been over at mom’s in Oregon for the holidays. We moved into that new place… hmmm. You know? I cannot remember when it was that I honestly got on my knees to pray. Wow!” Heidi was perplexed.

“There you go! See? Any one of us can let life get ahead of our time with the Lord. That makes us complacent and in turn leaves us to trust pastors to get into the word for us. I am telling you complacent Christians are susceptible to deception. Jesus said multiple times, many will come in My name. Do not be deceived. It distinctly says in the book of Revelation when God is talking to the seven churches and specifically to the church of Laodicea, “I wish you were hot or cold but since you are lukewarm I want to vomit you out of My mouth!“

“That is really scary Robin!” Heidi said.

“No, that is a complacent and deceived Church Heidi. The thing is it is something that can be changed easily if we are made aware of what is going on.”

“Okay Robin, but what about all of the good things that are coming out of those churches? There are a ton of people getting saved and baptized. Look at all of the fruit that is coming out of those churches. They help orphanages, the homeless, Robin they are doing God’s work. Every week hundreds are coming to the Lord. Surely God is at work in these churches.”

“Right Heidi, but if these new Christians who  are being saved and are being convinced that they serve the same God as Muslims, Buddhists, Mother of Apostles and every other religion then which God is the one they are actually serving? There is only One True God and He demands that no other God be before Him. We are saved by grace and Mother Mary, Buddha or Allah cannot offer that. Only Jesus can give us the grace to forgive us of our sins because He died for us. It is conditional. We are saved when we believe that only He, Jesus died for us. Period. I am afraid these people are being deceived. The bible says that “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”

A deceiver is not a deceiver unless he deceives well. The Bible says not to be deceived by wolves in sheep clothing. I think that is what some of these pastors are. Unfortunately the people that are being deceived have a better relationship with the pastors deceiving them than they do with Jesus.”

“Well, say what you want Robin but I do get fed at that church. I feel good about myself when I leave there and learn a lot from their teaching. I think I will chew on the meat and spit out the bones.” Heidi said drinking her last bit of coffee.

“Ya, I don’t know Heidi, something isn’t sitting right with me on this. You know, you can boil a frog by turning up the heat a little at a time and you can turn a huge boat with a slight bump on a small rudder. The bible says “A little leaven leavens the whole lump!”

Just be careful you don’t choke on a bone!

Chapter Twelve

Ben was looking around for Susan. She was supposed to be there fifteen minutes ago and youth group was about to start. Tyler, Monica’s son, was sitting next to him. He was two years younger than Ben and looked up to him with great admiration.

“When did you and your mom move into Cory’s place?” Ben asked.

“About a month ago, it’s been kind of weird. He acts like he wants me there but I feel like I am in the way a lot of the time. I have my own room and everything but it doesn’t feel like home, you know?

“Ya, so you didn’t have to change schools did you?” Ben asked looking over his shoulder again to see Susan walk in the door.

“No, he lives on the school district boundary so that was good. Mom said we are going to live there just until we can get on our feet. Our car broke down and she didn’t have the money to fix it so Cory said we could live at his place until Mom could save enough money to either get it fixed or get a new car.”

“What happened to Monica’s car?” Ben asked.

Ben was savvy when it came to working on cars and enjoyed it a lot. He had rebuilt an old ‘58 Willy’s Jeep for his senior project in shop class. Robin’s brother had sold the Jeep to Sam when they first started dating and it sat in the machine shed next to the barn covered up with a tarp for the last ten years. Sam and Robin had presented a deal to Ben that if he wanted to use the jeep for his senior project they would buy the parts and when it was finished he could either buy the jeep from them at a reduced price or they would match what he had saved for a newer rig provided he maintain a “B” average. Ben had to work much harder than his sister for the grades but had kept his end of the bargain.

Ben had rebuilt the motor, the master cylinder and upgraded the steering assembly, rewired the 6 volt electrical system fixed the dents and gave it a new coat of paint. The instructor was impressed with Ben’s eye for detail and tenacity.

Tyler was telling Ben something about how the Subaru head gasket had gone out, and how it overheated. But Ben was not listening, his eyes were on Susan.

He had known Susan since they were very young when Heidi, Robin and Sam all attended Seven Mile together. When she was in sixth grade Susan and her mom moved to Kuna where Heidi joined a practice with a dentist as their hygienist. She had purchased a small farm in the country where she and Susan taught riding lessons and boarded horses on the side.

Ben and Susan had met at a Fourth of July Christian Concert put on by the local churches and featured popular Christian musician groups. Susan had recognized Ben from a distance while she was working at the food stand through her church in Kuna. Ben was there with Matt, one of his friends from youth group. Matt had spotted Susan and was interested in her. Ben didn’t recognize Susan, she had changed a lot from the skinny sixth grader he once knew. Matt had spent a small fortune on fast food in an attempt to talk to Susan. Unfortunately for Matt there was a lot of competition for Susan but she had made it very obvious of her interest in Ben.

Susan had just recently started coming to Ben’s youth group on Thursday nights. Heidi let her drive the big red Dodge Ram flatbed pickup and whenever Susan made an entrance every guy in the youth group noticed. Her long blonde curly hair bounced when she entered the room; it was like throwing a shiny plug into a pond full of hungry bass after a long winter. Susan loved the attention and it had the tendency of making Ben jealous. She could have any guy in the room and she flaunted it. Ben was more reserved and Susan’s aggressiveness threw him off balance.

The youth leader called the gathering to attention and Susan made her way over to where Ben was sitting with Tyler. After the youth group was over Ben and Susan usually went to the Dairy Queen restaurant with a couple of the others for a shake. Ben and Susan were sitting in a booth when she nudged him. He looked at her and when their eyes met he followed hers to the open purse. There was a condom in a package in her purse. His heart panicked and he looked back at her eyes. Her eyes opened wide and her mouth opened in a dramatic “Oh dear!” and she laughed.

“Where did you get that?” Ben whispered.

“When I was in Bend at Christmas my cousin had several in her drawer so I took one!” Making her dramatic face again.

Ben’s heart was racing. He wanted to remain in control of this situation but felt like he was losing all resemblance of it. He didn’t know how to respond. They had talked about doing “it” but he didn’t know what to do. All of this was going through his head and Susan said. “Let’s go back to the church parking lot.” Susan was acting very aggressive and that was intimidating Ben a little but he wasn’t going to back down.

They had done some serious petting but had never taken it to that level. Robin had explained to Ben when he started dating Susan that having sex was much more than recreation. It was meant to be a covenant with God between one man and one woman. She had explained to him that if he would wait until he was married that the Lord would bless his marriage and his family immensely. She had stressed that it was very important not to give in to any temptation and had requested that the two of them always be in company with some of their peers at all times.

The problem for Ben was that his peers were having sex everywhere and the older he had gotten he figured that his mom had lost touch with reality and didn’t understand that things were much different than when she grew up. You couldn’t turn the television on without seeing sex on every channel or at the very least there would be some woman scantily clad talking about erectile dysfunction. Every one of Ben’s friends had experienced sex and frankly he was embarrassed when they all talked about. It was everywhere he went at school, on the football team, at work and even a lot of the guys at church had experienced sex. He figured that he was the only person on the planet had never had sex. He knew of kids at school who had sex when they were in grade school! Ben tried to talk big but really had no idea what he was talking about. Then when he threw Susan into the equation it got very complicated. She could have any guy she wanted and if he was not willing she wouldn’t have to look far to find someone who was interested in her body. He was intimidated because he really didn’t know what to do. His peers all teased him assuming that he and Susan were having sex often and the way she acted it seemed obvious to everyone. She had told Ben that she had never done “it” before but he wondered if she was being honest.

“Okay” he said nervously. It was 9:00 and it was pretty safe to say that no one would be at the church parking lot at this time of night. It was dark and there was a corner next to the utility shed in the back parking of the parking lot that seemed optimal.

Susan pulled the Dodge pickup around and backed it in facing the back of the church. There was one light on inside the church that someone had forgotten to turn off but there were no other rigs in the parking lot. She turned the radio on to a country music station and looked over at Ben who was nervously looking back at her.

“Are you sure this is what you want to do?” he asked her.

“Don’t you want to?” she replied. He could tell that she was nervous too. “Are you kidding? Of course I do” Sam said “I just don’t want to have God mad at me. I mean isn’t this sin?”

“Well, Jesus already paid for our sin and He knows everything so I am sure He knows that we are going to do this. Right?” Susan justified.

“Yea, I don’t know if that is how it’s supposed to work” Ben said.

“Are you chickening out Ben?” Susan teased kicking her cowboy boots off and moving across the seat closer to him.

“No, I just want to be right.” His hands were shaking and he took off his jacket. She started helping him and he was helping her in a heightened frenzy.  He caught the scent of her sweet perfume and it seemed to draw him in towards her, the heat of her body reeled him in numbing his senses. Turning back was impossible. They were both naked in the front seat and she grabbed the condom wrapper out of her purse and handed it to him. He fumbled with it and she finally took it from him and opened it. He told her that he wasn’t really sure how it worked and between the two of them got it figured out. The windows were completely steamed up adding a sense of seclusion to the heated situation. As he pressed in towards her she held him back nervously saying “I have never done this before Ben.”

“I am not exactly sure what to do either.” His whole body was shaking uncontrollably.

“Yeah me either except what they showed us in health class and watching the stallion with the mares.” Ben made the sound of a horse and they both started laughing breaking the tension of the awkward moment.

Their sexual desire had built up so intensely that it didn’t take long and he was done. The second they were finished conviction poured over both of them. They both started putting their clothes on without saying a word both deep in thought.

Ben was thinking about how it was over now and there was no going back. His mother’s words came back to him “This is a special gift between you, your wife and God. Wait until you are married and you both will be blessed.”

He looked over at her. She had her panties on and was putting her bra on. He smiled at her trying to make the condemnation go away and there was a wrap on the truck window. Susan screamed scrambling for her shirt on the floorboard of the truck and Ben jumped frantically pulling on his pants. His shirt was unbuttoned and un-tucked. It seemed like it took forever to find their clothes and get dressed. Fortunately the windows were fogged and Ben said through the door “Who is it?”

Both of them looked at each other in terror when the answer came back “Pastor Mike. What are you and Susan doing in there Ben?”

“Oh Sh…” Ben mouthed. Susan’s curly hair was all over the place and her lipstick was smeared on one side. She was zipping up her pants and he was trying to get a sock on and it was going on backwards. When she had her pants zipped up she hit the button rolling down the window on Ben’s side. Ben knew it was “time to pay the fiddler” and opened up the truck door and stepped outside in his socks. To his horror he saw not just Pastor Mike but in his car was his wife and their teen age daughter. Disappointment covered Pastor Mike’s face making Ben want to crawl under the truck. All he could do is look down to avoid his eyes. He felt like he had let down everyone he knew and loved.

“So, What’cha two doing?” Mike said knowingly.

Ben looked up at him. Pastor Mike was looking directly into his soul, he was so ashamed he just wanted to crawl off and die.

“I thought you were stronger than this Ben” Pastor Mike said and shaking his head he turned and walked back to his car and drove away.

Ben turned around and looked at Susan. Her hair was going everywhere and she was looking in the mirror attempting to get it to settle down. Her shirt was un-tucked. He looked at himself and realized that his shirt wasn’t buttoned properly, one button off all the way down. “Dog gone it…” he muttered and then saw the used condom lying on the floorboard of the pickup in plain sight.


Chapter Nine

Ben came dancing in the kitchen and put his arm around his mom who was layering lasagna noodles in a large glass pan.

“What are you so happy about?”

“Susan is home! Mom, it has been such a long vacation.” He said dramatically.

“I know it has been honey. Why don’t you ask her and her mom over to dinner tonight? We are going to have lasagna and I made too many noodles so we will have more than enough to eat.”

Ben went across the granite island where she was working and sat down texting Susan on his phone. Within seconds a beep came in with a response.

“What time mom?” Ben asked.

“How about 6:30, your dad won’t be here until 6 or so.”

Robin texted Sam and asked him to pick up some garlic spread for the French bread and let him know that they would be having Susan and her mom Heidi for dinner.

Sam and Robin had met Heidi when they had all gone to Broken Lives Fellowship group. She had a nasty breakup with her ex-husband had a difficult time trusting anyone since. She had dated often earlier but it was too hard to find a Christian man that truly walked the walk. She had come to the point where she was tired of compromising and stopped dating.

Before Sam and Robin had married, Robin and Heidi were very close. They had since drifted apart but still remained friends. Heidi was now attending another church in town so they didn’t see each other as much. It would be fun to catch up with her.

Lasagne_0894_1When they arrived Heidi was very impressed with the lasagna cooling on the granite counter top. Erica was putting the final touches to the table setting on the long farm table. She had changed the Christmas centerpiece with some fresh flowers that she had picked up from the store earlier. Sam, Ben and Susan were out doing the chores so the girls sat and visited.

Heidi was very excited about her trip to Oregon. She had an opportunity to attend a revival concert that Meadow Song was playing in at a friend’s Community Church in northern California. Meadow Song was one of the most popular Christian groups in the country. They traveled globally to bring Christian music to the world. Heidi expressed how exciting it was to see so many Christians at the revival reaching out to the Muslim community and the Mother of the Apostles Church. To see them all come together praising God was very emotional. Heidi commented about the stirring message that the pastor of the large Christian Church gave. He had called everyone together to embrace each other’s differences and pray to God together. She was especially touched by the depth of love that the most holy appointed Bishop from Mother of Apostles gave to him afterwards by kissing his feet. What humility. They had offered an alter call at the end and hundreds of people came forward to be saved. It was one of Heidi’s most moving experiences ever.

What Heidi was saying stirred Robin’s spirit and she asked Heidi,

“Do you think that they were all praising the same God?”

“Of course they were!” Heidi said.

“Hmmm. Well that just doesn’t make sense to me; I am not sure how that can be possible. Muslims consider Jesus to be a prophet, not God and the Mother of Apostles pray to Mary to intercede to Jesus and the Bishop is given the power to forgive of sins through penance usually by how much they give financially and the charity given. That is works and implys that Jesus dying on the cross was in vain. That makes me curious about this.” Robin wondered out loud.

“Well I am pretty sure they were praising the same God. I mean I assume they were… “ Heidi said. “But I sure see what you mean when you say it like that.”

“ And the Bishop was kissing the pastor’s feet?… That is just not right.” Robin said. “That just gives me a wrong feeling inside.”

“Well he did say before he did that how he wanted to wash that pastors feet but because they didn’t have any water on stage he was going to offer him humility by kissing his feet instead.” Heidi said.

Marty came in barking excited to see everyone in the kitchen. That was his favorite place and with all of the people there it ensured him some scraps afterwards. Sam, Ben and Susan all hung up their coats and removed their muddy boots in the mudroom and joined the girls in the kitchen. Sam and Ben relished Robin’s lasagna and even though the first serving was enough they had to have another helping. It was only right.

After supper they were so full that they both needed to go outside and check on the cows to walk off some of the lasagna. After clearing the table Susan and Erica both joined them. The night was clear and cold and the skies were filled with stars. There was no moon and the Milkey Way lit up sky like a highway from one end of the horizon to the other. Marty stared out into the darkness beyond the where barn light reached growling a warning when a coyote howled answered by another. The scent of worn leather hit their noses walking through the barn past the tack room. Erica’s gelding nickered upon hearing her voice and she stopped to rub his nose. One of the cows was still eating on the remainder of the hay left in the feeder while the other two drank noisily out of the water trough.

Sam and the kids all leaned up against the rail fence looking out into the back pasture. Ben and Susan were whispering and giggling, happy to be back in each other’s company.

Night sky_140908_0072_1“Back to school” Erica said

“Yup” Sam replied. Both of them stared at the incredible display of stars across the sky. Marty stood on his back legs between the two of them with his front legs on the second rail nudging Erica’s arm.

“It sure was a good Christmas with you here honey” Sam said to Erica.

“I know Daddy” she said and leaned her head against his shoulder. He put his arm around her and kissed the top of her head. She felt safe and he felt like his little girl was leaving forever.

Heidi helped Robin clear the rest of the table and put the dishes in the dishwasher. Heidi shared with Robin about the rest of their trip to Oregon and how her mom was dealing with life now that her dad had passed away. Robin listened but was still processing what Heidi had said earlier. When they had finished tidying up everything they both sat down at the kitchen table drinking coffee. Heidi looked at Robin seriously and asked her.

“You seemed concerned about that revival thing I was telling you about. Are you seeing something there that I don’t see?”

“I don’t know for sure but I think it might be something we need to look into Heidi. Things are changing rapidly in the world right now and something inside of me is telling me to pay.”

“I have been noticing that too Robin.”

“How is your church? Do you like it?” Robin asked.

“Well, I am searching for a new church right now.” Heidi said “It is so hard to find one anymore that teaches the truth. I really like when the message on Sunday makes you think all week. Sometimes a convicting message is a very good thing. It is like pastors are compromising, preaching a watered down message. “

“It is funny you say that Heidi. I was thinking the same thing after church last Sunday. It is like Pastor Mike is too concerned about offending anyone like if he offends someone with the message it will adversely affect the incoming tithes or attendance!”

Everyone came in through the mudroom laughing. Marty ran in and greeted Robin and Heidi. They both stood up and Heidi gave Robin a hug and said “We need to do this more often.” Robin agreed and walked Heidi to the door. Sam, Robin and Erica stood at the back door watching Heidi and Susan load up into the red Dodge Ram. Ben was over at the driver’s side of the truck saying good bye to Susan. Suddenly Robin ran over to the passenger side of the truck motioning Heidi to roll down the window. “Let’s get together one of these Saturday’s for coffee.” Heidi grabbed Robins hand and agreed over the rattling of the diesel motor.