May 10, 2008
Saturday, 12:30 p.m.
Letter #21: If You’re Happy and You Know It, Rub Your Belly!
Greetings! Hmmm … it’s a Saturday … Mark is home … basketball, anyone? I bet! I’ve had a couple of decent basketball days in the past couple of weeks. One day, my team won all three straight games (to 15), and I graduated to the more challenging court. I shot for “Team Captain,” backing up into 3-point range and swished it. As team captain, I broke up three arguments by ruling on them—each one not in my team’s favor, unfortunately, but correctly. (Yes, Mark, we still won! 🙂 ) I was leading scorer, too, going four out of five. The major accomplishment for me, however, is just not making a complete fool of myself with a worn ball and playing in boat shoes!
Now, for a short list of blessings God has given me recently:
- I was summoned to “canteen” last week. It turns out that my “602” Formal Level Appeal—to receive my two missing pens—was approved! Now, IF I remember, I can write my “Dear Family” letters in pen! Praise the Lord!
- I was “low-bridged” on the basketball court (someone faked up; I jumped; he didn’t). As he ducked, I flew up over him, ricocheted off his back, and landed—hard—on my left elbow. Yep. I had to bloody up the ugliest part of my body! God is good! That elbow has already been chipped (snowboard jump injury in 2002) and mangled in numerous accidents (skateboard and basketball, mostly), so after seeing medical (benedyne + strip search), I’ve decided to avoid scrapes. Yes. I continued playing, and yes, we won. And, I won a bunch of respect from several guys who saw it happen, because of my good attitude toward the cheap move done to me.
- I finally got to go to church again! The songs requested were: “I Love You, Lord,” and “If You’re Happy and You Know It.” (Thanks, Vincent. Thanks for the verse, “If you’re happy and you know it, rub your belly.” I wish I was joking.) After the service, I played a few other songs, as the guys filed out. The big black preacher told me as I shook his hand that I really have a gift.
“Well, praise God,” I said. “I was a church pianist on the out.”
“Stick with it,” he said, oblivious to what I’d just said. “God could even use you in a church, you know!” Ummm, yeah. I know. 🙂
- The best part of that church service? A young American Indian guy gave his life to Christ, amidst many other rededications. There is something quite powerful about a conversion experience, as a wise man (for he who wins souls is wise, Scripture says!) leads a sinner to the foot of the cross. Being in the same room, as the forces of evil lose, once and for all, the battle for his soul, is emotionally electrifying. You could almost hear the angels begin their rejoicing as he embraced his Savior. Pray for “Indio.” I’m giving him some Christian materials to help him grow in his faith.
- Though our dorm was never called to participate in the revival, I saw the pastors gathering as I went to retrieve my pens from canteen, and I prayed for them. Thank you for praying God’s blessing on the revival!
- God takes care of me in little things: On the last day of the revival, I received two free Christian books in the mail (Harvestine Books). One is a defense of Creationism, poking over 1,000 scientific holes in the theory of evolution, and the other? A hymnal! I’m using it in my devotions now! (Christian radio is ONLY Mondays.)
- God provides for my needs! The day I ran out of “tooth powder” (think: AJAX), I led the Bible Study at dayroom (now solely my responsibility) instead of getting in line for supplies. As I was going back up to my room, I got the C.O.’s attention, and he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to throw me a packet of tooth powder—30 feet—to where I was on the stairs. God is good!
- I also received the enclosed note from a Christian brother I’ve encouraged through a difficult time in his life (pray for Mike: he has a tough decision to make). The note says, “10% of your earnings give to those who need (tithing).” There was a soup packet, and 15 oz. bottles of V05 shampoo and conditioner!! ($3.25 in products) PTL!
- I’ve had two guys say to me: “Wow. You’re always smiling!” and “You’re too cheerful for this place!” He is worthy of my praise, my love, my life.