Rune Rofke - Glenn Emery
We had a very, very interesting trip down from New York. Before we even got across the Tappan Zee Bridge we blew a tire. While we were waiting for Doug to come back with a spare a wrecker came to push us off the bridge, but as we were changing lanes we got hit by a car-carrier truck, which almost did push us off the bridge -- into the Hudson.
We finally got on the road again and stopped in Winchester, Virginia, at McDonald's for dinner. When I was in the high school marching band, Winchester was where we used to come every spring for the Apple Blossom Festival Parade.
The parade was always secondary to our desire to party. Some guys would sneak liquor from their parents in Listerine bottles, and almost everyone would buy fireworks because they were legal in Virginia. Then back at the motel we would take little nips of Southern Comfort from the mouthwash bottle and fire bottle rockets at each other around the motel pool. The chaperones would sometimes yell at us to quiet down, but they never seemed too concerned, as long as they didn't catch anyone doing anything really out of bounds.
It was on the Winchester trip during my junior year that Leslie, who was a freshman and also played trumpet in the band, and I first started going together. We had gone out a few times before, but I had been through a very hard break-up the year before and I wasn't too eager to get too involved again. But Leslie was very pretty and sweet and I liked her and I could tell she liked me. One night at the motel we were alone and started making out. After that we were together all the time.
So I had some memories in Winchester, but the McDonald's we were at was out near the interstate and not anyplace I recognized. It looked like just another commercial strip in America. We could have been anywhere. After we finished eating we all piled back in the van and got back on the highway headed toward Texas.
About 200 miles later someone noticed that a brother named Bruce wasn't in the van. Our Abel figure for the trip, a brother named Jack, didn't want to call New York. I think it was because he knew he'd get yelled at by Mr. Kamiyama, who is head of the national MFT. Maybe Jack was hoping nobody would find out if we just went back and got Bruce. I also think it was Jack's first leadership responsibility and he was anxious not to fail.
So Jack told the driver to turn around and we drove 150 miles through the night back toward Winchester before he finally stopped about 3 o'clock in the morning and called New York. We lost a whole day driving the extra 300 miles. It turned out to be a wasted trip. Bruce had waited about an hour at the McDonald's and when we didn't come back, he called New York and they wired Bruce money for a bus ticket. A short time later he was on a Greyhound to Dallas. We had probably passed him in the dark on our way back. We also found out in the phone call that our destination had been changed to New Orleans.
We arrived in New Orleans yesterday and went fundraising almost right away. But Mr. Hayashi, the commander, decided to send me to an MFT team in Arkansas. At first he was going to send me to New Mexico, but I guess HF changed his mind. This made me really happy because the captain of the Arkansas team was Richard Panzer. He was famous on MFT as one of the top sellers in the country. To be assigned to his team was a huge blessing.
So Mr. Hayashi put me on a plane in New Orleans that took me to Memphis and then to Little Rock. Richard picked me up at the airport a couple hours later and immediately dropped me off with some candy to go fundraising. We didn't even go to the apartment where the team lived to drop off my suitcase and sleeping bag. It was great. I was officially on MFT. I thanked God for allowing me to follow Father's indemnity course.
Immediately I noticed the people here were not like people in Long Island. These were good, simple Christian folks, salt of the earth. Most of them weren't rushing around. They would stop and talk to you, even if they didn't buy. Every time someone said no, I repented to HF for not being able to love them enough to make them give. I felt certain that in time I would be able to crush Satan here and bring a high result for heaven.
At the end of the day we went back to the MFT center, which was really just a cheap efficiency apartment with no furniture. Every place I had lived in the church so far had had at least some sparse furnishings. A sofa and some chairs, maybe a few tables and lamps. But this place was completely bare, right down to the wooden floors. There were no dishes or silverware in the kitchen or anything to cook with. Only some paper cups. To anyone else it would have looked vacant.
We counted the day's result -- $787.12, almost $400 of it made by Richard -- and made a prayer offering it to God. Then Richard helped me with my selling pitch, making my spiel shorter and coaching me on how to make my delivery more effective. He demonstrated for me. It was amazing to watch. His face suddenly lit up, so earnest and smiling. He seemed overly excited, like a child on Christmas morning, even though he was a grown man with a 5 o'clock shadow.
When he spoke it caught me by surprise. He didn't yell, but his voice was louder than necessary, and his speech was very peculiar, almost sing-song. When he said "Arkansas," he put the emphasis on the last syllable so it came out as "Ar-kan-SAW!" It was hypnotic. He could instantly dominate another person's spirit with his voice, and yet because of his relatively small size and his joyful, childlike demeanor, no one could feel threatened. It immediately became apparent to me why he was so successful. No one could say no to him.
The other brothers on the team, Kent and Tim, watched Richard as he demonstrated his selling technique. But they didn't show any emotion. I guess they'd probably seen it many times already. To me they mostly just looked tired.
But I'm thrilled. Already I feel total oneness with Richard as my Abel, my central figure. If I can copy him and keep a vertical connection to God, which I know I can, I'm certain I can become a top seller too. I have no doubt I'll get the victory. I think I'm going to like Arkansas very much.