A Tactical Error

In perhaps not one of my finer moments of booking concerts for the quartet, I arranged for a worship service concert at the Statesboro, GA SDA Church and an evening concert at the Chattanooga First SDA Church. The problem is that they’re 5½ hours apart!
 
When I had first looked at the distance on a map, Statesboro looked to be about 4 hours away. So I tried diligently to book an evening concert at a church that would be on our way back home. Unfortunately nothing panned out for a church in that area, so I made a call to Chattanooga First, remembering that it had been almost two years since we were there. I figured that we could go down to Statesboro Friday night, sing for the church service the next day and have plenty of time to get back to Chattanooga for an evening concert at 6:30. However, I did NOT account for the traffic of Atlanta.
 
We weren’t able to leave town on Friday until after 4:00 PM, so we hit Atlanta at the perfect time for rush hour. As we sat in traffic, I realized with a sinking feeling that I may have made a grave tactical error! We finally made it to Statesboro after being on the road for over six hours. My contact Myron, and his wife Jan had graciously invited Ryan and Gary to stay at their house. I had been texting with Jan most of our trip, keeping her updated on our progress, so they were relieved when we arrived after hearing about the traffic delays. They assured us that Atlanta traffic wouldn’t be a problem for us on the way back Saturday afternoon, and I said a silent prayer that they were right! Typically we try to set up our sound system on Friday night, but since it was so late, we decided to wait until the next morning.
 
Tim and I stayed at the home of Dick and ElDonna who lived only a few minutes away from Myron and Jan. We were greeted by their tiny Yorkshire terrier who reminded us of Tim’s dog James. We had a good night’s rest, and the next morning at breakfast we found out that Dick had had a successful crop-dusting business for many years in addition to his career at Georgia Southern University. He and ElDonna told us several interesting stories of the hazards of crop-dusting and how dangerous it is to fly at night. We learned some interesting facts about cotton, peanuts and boll weevils. Tim and I thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the Hilde’s. After breakfast ElDonna drove us over to Myron’s where we then all drove over to the church.
 
Sitting in the church parking lot for a few minutes, we began laughing at my “tactical error.” I was glad the guys thought it was humorous, because I was a little nervous! We got the sound system set up and got our sound check before anyone needed to be in the sanctuary. For the children’s story, Tim told the tale of when his dad went fishing as a boy and almost caught a turtle. The kids seemed to be on the edge of their seats! The concert went well, considering we were a little rusty. The last time we’d performed was on the weekend of July 4 in San Antonio, and, although we’d been practicing since then, our concert rhythm was a bit off.
 
We kept our eye on the clock and ended up cutting a song from the concert so that we could finish in time to get back to Chattanooga by 5:30 to set up for our 6:30 concert. After the concert, Ryan and Gary took down the system while Tim and I helped the congregation with honor sales. Everyone who came to the table commented on how much they were blessed and how much they enjoyed the music. Many people thanked us for being willing to drive so far and sing for a small church.
 
We were able to get on the road at about 12:45 and had no traffic problems on the way home. Jan had packed us a wonderful lunch to take with us, so we were able to save a lot of time by eating on the road. Also, ElDonna had suggested that we drive through Augusta instead of Atlanta and it did seem to shave off some more time from our trip. Gary did a great job of getting us back in plenty of time and the Lord provided a clear route while we traveled. We pulled into the parking lot of Chattanooga First at about 5:15 and waited a few minutes for my contact to open the church.
 
We had done a social media blitz to let all our local friends and family know about the concert. It seemed to work, because by the time the concert started there were about 80 people in the sanctuary, including people from my home church of Bowman Hills and many other local churches. One of our biggest fans, Savannah Brown, had requested on Facebook that we perform the song “Twenty-Three,” a beautiful version of the 23rd Psalm that we taught to Gary soon after he joined. The problem is that we hadn’t sung it for quite a while. We promised Savannah that we would rehearse it and only perform it if we saw her at the concert. We rehearsed it the Wednesday before and then again at sound check, and when Savannah showed up, we knew we’d have to sing it!
 
The entire concert went very well and when it came time for “Twenty-Three” we made it through with only one mistake, which I’m sure not many people caught. If Savannah heard the mistake, she never mentioned it. She was smiling through the entire song!
 
On Sunday morning we had a concert scheduled at Alpine Baptist Church in Hixson. Back in 2001 our friend Martha Jeffery had heard us sing at a retirement facility and invited us to sing at Alpine. We’ve been visiting our friends there ever since. This time we’d been asked by Mr. Halstead to present a worship service concert and we were happy to oblige. Pastor Jimmy and his wife Amy are always very friendly and welcoming, as are all the members of the congregation. Unfortunately Martha had been injured the week before and wasn’t able to be there, so we really missed her. She also plays piano for their services, so since they were minus a pianist, David asked if we would lead some songs for song service. It was fun to sing some hymns acappella with the congregation.
 
After the concert and honor sales, Gary asked if we would be willing to head over to Starbucks where his son Zac works. He thought it would be nice to sing “Irish Blessing” for him and his coworkers. He was very happy to see us and thanked us after the song was over. We even had a customer say thanks for the song and that she really enjoyed it. It’s always fun to sing that song in restaurants and to see the different reactions.
 
So, even though I didn’t plan this weekend very thoroughly, God was able to use each concert for His glory, which is all we ever hope for. He is definitely at work!
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