Thursday, July 31, 2008

Little did I know...

How's this for "things that make you go 'hmmmm'" (that's an Arsenio Hall reference from the early 90's, y'all): In 1999, I was still in Chattanooga, working for a fulfillment company whose main client was the media ministry of my church, filling orders for tapes, etc. by my pastor Wayne Barber, then at Woodland Park Baptist Church. I went with the boss, Wayne (pictured, left) and friend and co-worker Jennifer Ould (middle) to the National Religious Broadcasters convention, at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville that year.

Hang on, the "hmmmm" is coming.

I was mostly a tourist at the convention, took a few pictures here and there, including this one (missed a potentially great shot of Tammy Faye Baker walking around with a camera crew).

This week, I was going through my photo album (the non-computerized kind; remember paper prints?) and scanning pics for a Facebook group of friends from those days, when I realized know the man Wayne is talking to, though I didn't know him then.

Larry Warren is the founder of African Leadership, and at the time of the photo had recently moved its based of operations from Africa to Franklin, TN (near Nashville). He's the one who introduced Brentwood Baptist Church, to the ministry of Living Hope, in Cape Town, South Africa, about 5 years ago.

Meanwhile, I had moved to Nashville in September 2002, and joined BBC not long afterward. In September 2004, I was part of the first of several church-wide mission teams to go to South Africa to work with Living Hope.

And that's how I got my start in the long-distance relationship with the people across the ocean, traveling there, e-mailing, and generally yammering on about it. Like I'm doing now.

So, how's that for a "little did he know" (Stranger Than Fiction reference)...Hmmmm? OK, it's not like Larry's my long-lost twin, but still, given the number of people that were there and the small number of pics I took, that's a pretty "neato" coincidence.

As a bonus, one of my first jobs after moving to Nashville 3 years later was with the Grand Ole Opry, also owned by Gaylord and on the same property.

And I'm pretty sure that's not Condoleezza Rice to the far right...but THAT would be REALLY something, wouldn't it?

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