recently i was involved in a string of comments on a facebook picture from my first youth group. as i’ve been reveling in the memories that are coming to the surface, and my heart is remembering the joy and love of God that I experience when i reflect on this time… i realized i forgot to say thank you.
i realized that i have never truly, adequately, accurately thanked my first youth minister for the tremendous impact he had on my life. in so many ways i never really thought of before. (EVEN IF YOU DON’T KNOW HIM… STICK WITH ME, I THINK YOU MIGHT LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES … )
Bill Cole. He had wild hair, a ready laugh and a truly jesus-spirit. he welcomed people into his family, into his heart and into his home. He started a ministry called S.A.L.T. (Sharing Abundant Life with Teens). The wednesday nights of my early youth years are ones i will never forget. from the totally disgusting peanut butter/armpit game… to the laughter inducing If You Love me Honey, Smile…. co-ed disciple now… (ha, i cant believe that happened… i have a teenager and there is no freaking way)…
but here is the thing. the main thing that i remember is the family that we became. so many people, so many lives were set on course. Many have gone into ministry, built families, continue to be connected in local churches. Even more have remembered the love they felt from Bill Cole… at S.A.L.T. and with other friends from FBC Pompano. This was a special time, with friendships that have stood the test of time, and require one remembered inside joke to take you right back there to that paneled room with the shag carpet.
bill cole… you poured into us and accepted us. you expected us to love Jesus. you expected more of us… and we loved Jesus. we loved being at church. we loved each other. and we loved you. how odd that i dont think i’ve ever told you that… (friends… who has impacted you eternally that you have never said ‘i love you’ too?)
and for that matter… those friends from that time of life, from that youth group… you still matter to me, you still have an impact with the memories that your names conjure up. i remember alot of laughing. and crying. i love that chatting about our memories has spurred us on to want more of each other. to reunite because of our great love for each other.
(friends… who do you need to organize a reunion with? time is short… people need to know they matter to you).
Bill Cole. in conclusion… though this doesnt even completely touch it all… i want to thank you for creating an environment for me and my beloved friends where we could learn the truth and love of Christ and it could bind us together because we learned it together. Your mark is everywhere… and for eternity.
i love you. and thank you.
read what he has to say: http://bcole127.blogspot.com/
follow his tweets: https://twitter.com/#!/bcole39