Visiting Joy and Norm
Waking early after spending the night in the “rustic” cabin, we made breakfast and had a clean-up in the shower house before driving to Shelby North Carolina. We wanted to visit with Joy and Norman Johnston. Norm was our pastor before he moved south to teach at a Bible college. We have remained friends over the intervening years and we wanted to strengthen those ties.
Neither one of them has changed since we last saw them although Norm said he has put on some weight because of some of the medications that he is taking. He also is wearing hearing aids. Part of the cause was due to an accident with fireworks. A student who was staying with them wanted to see and set off some fireworks. He bought a box of the explosives and started to set them off. Somehow, a spark ended up in the box of fireworks. It caused the explosives to blow up all at once. The box was right beside Norm and the noise of that blast caused the hearing loss and his need for hearing aids.
Norman still teaches and prepares young men and women for the mission fields. He helps give them the background and foundation to succeed in foreign lands. He helps them discover their strengths and how to use them. He directs the students to their internship with established missionaries already on the field. Each student must do an internship worth six credits before they can graduate. He said that he has students and missionaries that he has taught are living as missionaries to other countries. His students are in Parts of Canada; Newfoundland and Labrador. They are also in the Baffin Island, Greenland, Africa; Malawi and Togo. These are the places that I can remember.
The one story that I can remember that Norm shared was of one of the young campers that he met at the first year that Norm was a counselor at a summer youth church camp. This young man Chris was in the first that passed through the newly constructed camp. Chris is now the pastor at the church where Norm pastored in Shelby, North Carolina.
We shared updates our families and our lives. Norm and Joy want to sell their house and move closer to Charlottesville, North Carolina where he is pastoring a Korean church. (Norman was a missionary in Korea for many years.) He is overseeing a young minister who is shepherding a multi-national church with parishioners from several countries. Norm said that there are people from Togo, other South African countries, and even one man from Afghanistan.
We went to lunch in Shelby at a local diner before we started our trip back home. The food was very good and we talked as we waited and ate our food. I had liver and onions, because I hadn’t had any in years. It was delicious. It was so hard to say goodbye to such good friends, but we did and began our drive back to Pennsylvania.
We drove to Fancy Gap, Virginia where we had a cabin reserved at a KOA campground to spend the night. This KOA had the best cabin I have rented. It was immaculate, had an air conditioner, and even a flat screen television. The cabin smelled like fresh pine. It had the usual bed arrangement; one double bed and one set of bunk beds. It is about a mile away from the Blue Ridge Parkway and from a diner where we ate our evening meal.