April 26, 2019

The Imperials had so many opportunities …

after accepting Elvis’ invitation to work with him. One such opening was when Jimmy Dean asked us to sing with him. The picture accompanying this blog was taken at the Holiday House in Monroeville, PA, a suburb of Pittsburgh, in 1971. The Holiday House was a 900 seat auditorium with a huge stage for orchestra and band. We were there for three weeks with no nights off.

One night, about halfway through our stay, Greg Gordon and I happened to be sharing the same hotel room right over the showroom. At the time, the Carpenters were exploding onto the scene and they had a special tv show one night while we were there. Greg and I were sitting there in our underwear engrossed in the sights and sounds of Karen Carpenter and her beautiful voice and we lost track of time. We are on the edge of our beds watching the show when we heard the band play the introduction to the show.  We jumped up like we had been shot! We had about three minutes to get completely dressed and get down to the stage and the song was well underway. We had a shirt, tie, pants, coat, and socks and shoes and we had to be downstairs before Jimmy walked on the stage. It’s the very same suit in this photo. Fortunately, he always started in the audience making small talk with the people and he took his time this night. He would say things to a man who was thin in the crown of his head, “Where do you get those haircuts with the hole in the top”? An older man might be there with a much younger lady and he would say, “Nice of you to bring your granddaughter out tonight”. Everyone laughed but the people he was talking to.  Fortunately for us, he delayed his trip up to the stage that night. Had he gotten on stage and we weren’t there, we would have paid dearly! We made it to the stage just as he walked up from the audience. Everything was in place except the laces on our hightop brown and white patent leather shoes which we just didn’t have time to tie, but our pants covered them so no one ever knew how close we came to getting a lecture. We were standing there with the spotlight on us with untied shoes while we sang the first three songs. We were only able to finish tying our shoes when the spotlight moved back to Jimmy at center stage.

Such incidents like this always made for exciting times and you never knew what might happen the next night. Jimmy was complicated. I could write a novel on him. He loved what we did and we added so much to his show but it didn’t have the energy and excitement we had with Elvis. I will always regret leaving Elvis but life is full of decisions. You can never tell what the future holds but decisions have to be made. Not all of them are good ones and not all are bad. God redeems even those bad decisions and He blesses the good ones.

August 30, 2018

God Works in Mysterious Ways

We just returned from a two-week tour of Denmark and Poland and I am a bit weary of travel by air. I guess I could have gone by boat and been on the ocean for three weeks!  Then I would still have had to fly home from the east coast. Besides, I and the ocean don’t get along very well.

I don’t know why God chose us for this task. While I’m humbled and honored to be there, it is very tough on my body. Sleep doesn’t come easily for me even when I’m home and when I’m in a strange bed in a foreign country, seven hours earlier than my body clock thinks it is, I am clearly facing a difficult situation. I also realize the great responsibility God has placed on me to represent Him to people who don’t even go to church, or if they do, it’s usually Catholic. Our wonderful host in Poland is a devout Catholic, with six children and a very beautiful and supportive wife. I don’t know why he took to us except I think he sensed something in us that drew us to him. We did a show with him in January of this year and he decided he wanted to do a whole show of gospel in the town of Rzeszow. We sang with a 30 voice choir who knew every song we did, and a four-piece college band that was amazing! There’s so much talent in the world that goes undiscovered.

I wonder what will be the result of our trip halfway around the world to Poland? Why were we chosen? God works in mysterious ways His wonders to perform. We didn’t preach to anyone because we’re not preachers but shared our lives and our music to the Polish people. I got a chance on the night before to share my experiences with Elvis and I worked that invitation into a testimony of why I was there. God chose me to do this. Elvis was the vehicle through which God used. We were seed planters but it is God who gives the increase.  I pray our trip is fruitful for God’s kingdom and that we will hear of great things happening for months and years to come.

August 23, 2018

A Royal Welcome

I am sitting in a hotel room in Rzeszow, Poland tonight and amazed at what God is doing.  This singer of the gospel is offered the chance to sing and share a message of God’s grace and mercy to a group of people I have never known. How could this happen to me?  I am physically tired with many sleepless nights and I struggle to understand His mysteries. We are often tested and many times beyond our level of endurance but the bible says we are never tested above our ability to respond. I think God is about to do some really great things exceedingly abundantly above all we could ask or think. The Imperials, for some reason only God knows, were invited to Poland. We have been royally welcomed and have enjoyed our visit.

Recently, we were in Randers, Denmark, and sang to a crowd of Elvis fans who now have become Imperials fans. Many already were, but new ones were just added last weekend. Friday night, I will speak about my work with Elvis, how we met, and my involvement with him. I don’t know what I will say, but I pray it will speak to many hearts and encourage them to follow Christ and see what great things He has in store for those who trust Him. Please pray for me for the Friday night gathering and then on Saturday night, the Imperials will be in the public square singing with a 40 voice choir and a local band. Rehearsal is tomorrow night and I don’t have a clue how it will turn out – but we are here, God is here, so something great is going to happen. Thanks for your prayers and know that God is still in control of every situation here and in YOUR life as well.

 

We fly back to Denmark Sunday and return home on Monday. I am looking forward to sleeping again in my own bed, but really need relief for the rest of the week while over here. Blessings to you and thank you for your prayers.