Rune Rofke - Glenn Emery
We are in Dallas with all the other teams to celebrate God's Day and to have a Divine Principle workshop for the next few days. Tonight we received autographed pictures of Father, which we won for the November competition, for which I had a $190 average. I finished the December competition with a $263 average, and also broke my record with $451.
I made it selling candles down on the bayou, $3 each and two for $5. The candles were brandy snifters filled with scented wax, made by brothers and sisters at a factory in New York. It was a big business for the holidays. Candles were the perfect MFT product before Christmas. Teams everywhere made huge results with candles.
I was fortunate enough to be in one of the best fundraising areas in all of America: the Louisiana bayou. It is a deeply Catholic area, filled with simple, hardworking Cajun folk. All you have to say is "church" and they give you money, even if it leaves them broke. I've never met any people like them. They want to give. Cajuns, Catholics, Christmas, candles -- it was almost impossible not to make a big result.
A few weeks ago I was fasting and went up to a house and a man was grilling huge venison steaks on the grill in the car port. I told him I was selling candles for my church and he insisted I stop and eat with them. He called his family and they all came outside. They acted like I was a saint or holy person. Over and over they begged me to stay and eat with them. I explained I was fasting and could not, but they were so earnest. It broke my heart to turn them down, because I saw how much it meant to them to aid a stranger, especially a man of God. It was part of their code, their belief structure. But I was resolute. They finally relented and let me go, but I could see how disappointed they were. As was I. The grilled venison smelled phenomenal.
A full case of candles was very heavy to carry, and I had to constantly shift them from one hip to the other. It was also difficult to run with them, but I pushed myself.
There was a technique to selling candles. All of the candles were turned upright, so the bright color of the wax was most visible. But one I would turn over so I could easily take it out of the box by the glass stem. I would gently scratch the wax with my fingernail to release the sweet scent and then put it up to a person's nose and invite them to smell.
Late one night I got dropped off in the middle of nowhere, a crossroads far from anything. It was totally dark all around. The only things in sight were an all-night gas station and, across the highway, a juke joint. It was packed. I went inside the bar with my box of candles.
I surveyed the room of black faces. I was the only white person, but that wasn't unusual. I fundraised black bars all the time. But the vibe here was different. It wasn't good.
A few weeks earlier I had felt the same bad vibe at a black strip club in New Orleans. It was so dark inside I could hardly see, with only a small spotlight up on the stage where a young girl was completely naked. But I never looked at naked bodies. Not even the magazine covers in porn shops. I always kept my eyes on the people I was going to fundraise to so Satan would not have a foundation to attack me.
I worked my way around the strip club and came to a booth where I could barely make out a large black man. I approached him with my candles, but he pulled a small pistol out of his jacket pocket and put the barrel up my nostril and said very firmly to walk away. I glanced down. He was getting a blowjob. I slowly backed away and left.
All my instincts told me the juke joint I just walked into was not a good place for young white boy like myself to be in the wee hours of the morning, all by himself. I don't think anyone would have cared if I had come in there to drink and listen to music. But a white kid trying to sell something to black folks in the middle of the night tended to get some people irritated. I had faced those fears too many times to count and pushed them aside. I made my way to the back of the room so I could work my way toward the door. Every eye in the place was on me, but I tried to ignore it.
Some guys were sitting in the back corner and I asked them if they wanted to buy a candle. One guy took a candle out, looked at it, and then put it back and said, "Nah." I went through the whole place and didn't sell a thing. I went outside and looked at my box. A candle was missing. Immediately I knew what had happened. The guy who had taken the candle and put it back, didn't really put it back. He had held onto it and I hadn't noticed.
It was foolish, and I knew it, but I was determined to get the candle back. I went back inside and went straight to the table in the back corner.
"Wadda you want, bitch?"
"Give me my candle back."
The guy looked at my like I must have had some kind of death wish. "I ain't got yo damn candle."
"Yes you do. You pretended to put it back in my box and then took it. I want it back."
"Get the fuck outta my face, white boy."
"No. I'll leave when you give me my candle or pay for it."
"Yo is about to get fucked up."
"I don't care. Give me my candle."
The bartender was watching the whole thing. I guess the last thing he needed was some white kid getting murdered inside his establishment. "Aw man, give him his candle back. You had yo fun."
The guy thought about it a second and then reached behind him and pulled the candle out and slammed it on the table. "Get the fuck out here, you skinny ass honky motherfucker." All his friends thought this was hilarious.
I grabbed the candle, stuck it in my box, and left the bar.
Outside there were seven or eight guys waiting for me. They immediately surrounded me and started pawing at the box of candles. I pulled the cardboard flaps over the candles and held it to my chest, but I knew if they wanted to they could take the whole box and there was nothing I could do. Of course, they didn't care about the candles. The target was me.
They were waiting for me to run, or possibly try to fight. That's all they wanted. I knew I'd be on the ground in a heartbeat and I'd likely get stomped to death. I honestly felt I was going to die right then and there at that desolate crossroads.
I had only one option. I looked at the light at the gas station across the highway and started walking. I didn't turn or look back or anything. I just fixed my gaze on the light and walked toward it. My ring of tormenters let me pass. I expected at any moment to be tackled or hit with a brick or something. But nothing happened and I just kept walking toward the light.
I heard them jeer and call me names and laugh, but I dared not turn around. That's what they wanted me to do. That would have triggered it. I realized nothing was going to happen as long as I just looked forward and kept walking. I made it to the gas station, went inside, and waited for pickup.
I recently read in "Master Speaks" where Mother said Father loves us so much that their own children are jealous. I looked at Father's autograph in my hands. Getting this photograph nearly cost me my life.