So, I anticipated a quiet plane ride, plugging my iPod earbuds into my ears, tuning to a great “chill” playlist of tunes and maybe even snoozing on the short trip to St. Louis. Yeah, that didn’t happen. Before we boarded a nice older couple – Mary Ann and Jerry Peal sat down next to me in the concourse. We struck up a conversation – then it was time to board. “What row are you in?” Mary Ann asked me. Yes, you guessed it, I was the 3rd person in row 18. They were 18A and 18B, I was 18C.
We had a great conversation all the way to St. Louis. A couple of times I tried hard to just open my magazine and start reading, but when I did, Mary Ann would lean in and add her own commentary to what I was reading.
“Isn’t that Brittney Spears something else!” (Tsk, Tsk, Tsk) Mary Ann said.
“I can’t believe people wear that! Why doesn’t Angelina understand she shouldn’t trust Brad, after all…..”
So, I put the magazine away. I learned that she has 3 kids. Two married daughters and a son who lives in Oregon – which is where they were flying from. The son in Oregon is a free spirit – has a boa constricter and graduated with a degree in biology. He loves living in Oregon and is content to just live with little. He very much enjoyed his parents visit – costing them a ton of money (“My things are expensive in Oregon!”) whenever they would go out to eat.
The daughters have kids – one daughter is a medical hygenist, the other daughter is married to a very successful and prominent medical researcher. (“He’s very valuable and has written several published medical articles!”)
I learned they were Methodist and very much loved their church. They were the church janitors for many years. Jerry is a great cook – in fact, he wouldn’t eat at a steak house in Oregon because he could cook steak better than that! Jerry survived a “staff pneumonia” infection this summer miraculously!
I shared a bit about growing up in Bolivia – about being a pastor’s wife – and about working at Dare 2 Share. I gave them my business card and encouraged them to get their grandkids to a Dare 2 Share event.
As I was walking down the concourse in the St. Louis airport – I heard, “Excuse me…I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation!” A nice guy by the name of Dave (I think) was in the row in front of me. He was excited to hear more about Dare 2 Share, about Northern Hills and why I was attending Youth Specialties in St. Louis. He was in town for a wedding and was looking forward to seeing his family. He lives in Avon, CO, where he has worked for the past 4 years since graduating from college. I invited him to Northern Hills if he’s ever in the area, and to bring a bunch of his friends to volunteer at a Denver Dare 2 Share event. I also gave him my card.
I thought I was done – but no, I took a taxi ride into downtown St. Louis. I noticed the cab driver had a little bible/cross key chain thingy dangling from his rearview mirror. I asked him where he was from. “Ethiopia”, he replied. He has been in the US for 8 years. He and his wife just had a baby boy – 3 months old. I told him what I did, and that I also grew up overseas. We had a nice conversation and I gave him my card – encouraging him to get the students in his church to a Dare 2 Share event. He was excited to email me and find out more.
So, now, finally, I am in my hotel room, working on a few things before the rest of the team gets in this evening. I’m feeling a little hungry so I think I’ll venture out and find something to eat.
One last thought, I am reminded of how true it often is that a stranger is just a friend waiting to be made. I’m looking forward to making more friends.
Until next time….