I forgot to say thank you.

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/#!/bcole39bill cole and family.

7 thoughts on “I forgot to say thank you.

  1. Bill Cole says:

    Wow Robyn! I’m overwhelmed. Thanks so much for your encouragement. That group of people have proven to be, as Paul said, my joy and my crown. I’m so very proud of all of you.

    • what a sweet time that was… wasn’t it? and i really am so grateful to you for serving like that… you are great and i love you more the more i realize what an impact was made back then…

      • Tommy Winders says:

        I am Rae’s brother – we were at Longhollow yesterday with 5 grandchildren. Rae’s nephew is Brian Winders and he and his wife Tonya and 5 children are members of Longhollow. He is working with Small Groups.
        By the way, everything you have said about Bill is true at least 1000 times over. He and Rae were blessed by your post. thank you for thinking of others in ministry and letting them know how much you appreciate them.

        Tommy & Diane Winders
        Carrollton, AL

      • of course i know brian… 🙂 and his kids, of course, are in our ministry. i’m looking forward to hanging with him in the offices. he’s great.
        i was blessed to have bill and rae as spiritual lighthouses in my personal history… you are right of course. they are amazing.
        thanks for reading and commenting. look forward to meeting you too one day 🙂

  2. Carolyn blaikie says:

    As the mom of this writer, I have always been grateful for that early example of Bill Cole and the entire Cole family not only on our “teen”but our whole family in how to live a life that truly glorifies God. In gratitude and love to Bill, Rae, Kendra& Carissa….Carolyn Blaikie

  3. Rae Cole says:

    Thank you, Robyn, for that tribute to Bill. So many times, we become discouraged because we don’t see the results of the work. We know we leave those to God, but it is so good to hear someone verbally express gratitude. It makes us know we are doing what God has called us to do.

  4. Kelly says:

    Ditto….I was blessed to live around the corner and spend time with the Cole family in and out of church. I pray my boys have this experience of being accepted (even when the rebellious side of them acts like they don’t want to be) and nurtured into God’s loving embrace by ministers who love and care for them like I had with the Coles.

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