little church, huge heart

I really liked this day. A lot. Gabe and the girls and I had the awesome opportunity to share a little about our upcoming Cambodia trip and Asia’s Hope at Union Chapel, my mom and dad’s little country church in West Liberty, Ohio.

We got to the church really early, so Mom left her Sunday School class to come chat with us. After about 15 minutes, I saw my Grandpa (Mom’s mom) walking up the sidewalk. “Oh! Grandpa came!” I said, at the exact same time Livi was saying, “Is that Grandma??”

“It’s Grandpa,” I said. “What are you talking about?”

“I just saw Grandma Taviano drive by!” she said. “I know it was her! It was her car and her face!”

I turned to Mom. “Did you invite Gabe’s parents?”

She said no, but she looked guilty. They had invited themselves. How fun! It was really cool to have so many of our loved ones together as we shared about our trip. The girls each read a verse about caring for the poor and oppressed, then Gabe talked, then I talked (20 minutes total).

What was really, really cool was to hear how many of the church folks had been praying for Gabe after his heart attack and how thankful they were to God that he was alive and with them this morning. So awesome.

And all of my new (and old) Union Chapel friends, I know I promised you a post with lots of links to helpful information about all that God is doing in Cambodia. Can you give me one more day for that? I’m so tired, and I have to get up before the sun tomorrow to drive two hours to a speaking engagement. THANK YOU.

After church, we all headed to Mom and Dad’s for Dad’s no-sodium meatball/vegetable concoction and salad bar. Then Grandpa entertained us (at my request) with his mad piano-playing skillz.

Let me just brag on my grandpa for a second. He’s 85 years old, and by the time December 31st rolls around, he will have played 240 gigs this year in nursing homes, retirement centers, and what have you. TWO HUNDRED FORTY. In ONE YEAR.

52 zoos in 52 weeks?? Pbbbbbt! What’s that??

And get this. You WILL NOT believe this. He has anywhere from 800-1000 songs in his repertoire. AND HE KNOWS THEM BY HEART. He doesn’t use music. AT ALL.

That is insanity.

So Gabe’s mom requested three different songs that were favorites of her mama’s, and of course he knew them all and played them on the spot. And then he played a couple of his favorites. Then a jazzed-up version of Jingle Bells that Mom requested. And then a Carpenters song, because our parents are old.

And he told us lots of stories of when he was young, like how the ice man used to come and deliver a big block of ice that they’d keep in a wooden box (i.e., icebox) that kept their food cold.

And he told us my favorite story about the 90-year-old woman that flagged him down after a nursing home concert when he was packing up his keyboard and said, “I wish I would’ve asked you to play my songs.” So he asked her what her songs were, and she told him, and he played them, and she said, with tears in her eyes, “You know my songs. Nobody knows my songs.”

Can you imagine?

Then Grandpa, Rock, and Janelle went home, and Gabe and I went for the windiest walk of our lives (Gabe’s up to 28-minute walks now–woot!). Then back to church for the Annual Thanksgiving Dinner. Gabe saved his entire daily sodium allowance for this scrumptious meal (and borrowed a few from tomorrow).

We chatted and laughed and prayed with these sweet, huge-hearted folks, and then we did a little fire brigade line thing where we passed all their Operation Christmas Child boxes from one person to another and loaded them into a pick-up. Oh my word. The church probably has 60 people on any given Sunday, yet they filled what had to have been over 100 boxes. So awesome!

And they took a love offering for our trip and Asia’s Hope (above and beyond their regular offering). Amazing.

We came back to Mom and Dad’s for an hour after the dinner, and Gabe and Dad fell asleep watching Top Gun, while Mom and the girls and I played “No Way!” (i.e., Bull Crap) and Spoons.

Then home, girls in bed, Gabe in bed, my turn next. I’ll be up before I wanna be in the a.m., but at least I get to share some more about Cambodia with some really awesome gals in Bluffton, Ohio.

Have a great week, friends!

10 thoughts on “little church, huge heart

  1. Pingback: Marla Taviano » cambodia fund update

  2. jess

    HAHAHAHA! I made that comment on FB half way through reading this and then came back to read the rest. And of course, they watched a Tom Cruise movie. How ironic. 🙂

    I LOVE that grandpa knows 800-1000 songs! That’s AMAZING.

    Glad you had a fab weekend.

  3. Elizabeth

    A little church with a big heart sounds like the perfect kind of church to me! I think that describes the one we’ve been going to the last few months. I love it. This past Saturday we had a huge event called “For the City.” There was a huge free garage sale with all kinds of things to take, free oil changes, free haircuts (hugely popular), a free car wash, a bounce house and face painting for kids. It was a huge blessing to our small-ish city. Tulsa and the areas around have a lot of wealth, but there is so much poverty tucked into that. It was a pretty amazing day.

    And I love the Carpenters. My mom forced us to listen when we were kids, and I’m pretty sure I know every word to most of their songs. In fact, now they’re stuck in my head. I’d love to hear your grandpa play some of them. You must make sure you have some recordings!

    Cambodia is so close. I’m so excited for your trip!

  4. joyce

    I’d like to meet your grandpa but I must disagree that knowing The Carpenters makes you old : ) I will continue to pray for your trip…glad your hubs is feeling good!

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