By Del Duduit
Have you ever prayed and asked God for that special dream job? I have at times, and I often tell people when I retire, I’m going to be an usher at the New York Yankees spring training facility in Tampa, Fla. I would be retired and get paid to watch baseball – what a life that would be.
I just met some folks this past weekend who have such a dream job. They are not watching ballgames, but instead, they are doing something much more productive and fun. They are serving the Lord by working at the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove in Asheville, NC. I’m convinced God walks those hills and lives on the campus there tucked away in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Angie and I had the awesome privilege of attending the Asheville Christian Writers Conference there this past weekend. We had a blast and learned so much about the Christian publishing world. We met some amazing people in the industry and attended some valuable sessions. In just a couple of days, we know we have established some great new and lasting friendships.
But we met some people who work at The Cove who made our trip special. These people not only exemplified gracious service to others, but they also demonstrated quality features of what a Christian should be. I was not surprised by their hospitality, and I was so impressed by their attitudes.
Wanda greeted us and checked us in at the Pilgrim Inn. She was such a blessing and made us feel instantly at home. She has worked at the Cove the past 16 years and says it’s an awesome place to come to every day.
“God is everywhere on this mountain,” she said. “I love interacting with all the guests.”
Wanda, who is from Swannanoa, NC, has met Billy Graham and described the modern-day Paul as an incredible man of God.
Thanks, Wanda, for being so sweet.
Each morning and evening, conference attendees were shuttled back and forth between the Pilgrim Inn and the training center. It was a short drive, but it was not really walkable with all the steep hills.
Thank God for John. He was one of the many bus drivers who waited patiently on us to jump on and off his “chariot.”
John has been driving buses at The Cove for about five years. He is a retired salesman and loves spending his time driving up and down the hills and around in circles.
“This is as close as you can get to working in Heaven,” John said.
John loves his job because everyone he works with is a Christian. “It’s not like the world where people are trying to crawl up your back,” he said. “Here, everyone helps each other out all the time.”
He gets to meet Christians from all over the world and doesn’t mind taking the same route to and from the training center dozens of times per day. “Each time it’s with a different group of people, so I can tell the same jokes, and no one knows any better.”
John loves his duties and loves Asheville. “I was born here and have lived here my whole life,” he said. “Why go anywhere else? It’s beautiful here, and God’s here.”
Thanks, John, to you and your fellow drivers for safely getting us around all weekend.
I saw Sam a lot during the conference. He was all over the place making sure things were running smoothly. A local pastor, Sam is on the facility support team and is in his third week at The Cove helping with large group meetings.
“We help with the room setups and with sound equipment,” he said. “We are here to serve and make sure everyone has a first-class experience.”
Sam’s goal is to encourage everyone who comes to The Cove. “I just love it here because people can encounter the Lord and find spiritual strength,” he said. “This place just has a way to recharge you.”
Thanks, Sam, for encouraging us.
We have always heard the food at The Cove is outstanding. We found out this is true –breakfast, lunch, and dinner were food sent from Heaven.
I wish gluttony wasn’t a bad thing. The food was amazing, and the staff made sure we had everything we needed. Rita was one of those ladies on the staff. I couldn’t help but spot her anywhere because her distinguishable red hair was like a beacon of light. It fit her fun personality.
Rita has been in the food service industry for 31 years, but she looks at the past 11 years at The Cove as “her saving grace.” She loves her job as food service coordinator, and she has no doubt God brought her to the Cove.
“The spirit is everywhere here,” she said. “This is not a job to me at all – I love coming here every day. It’s an honor.”
Rita and her team were on top of their game all weekend.
Thanks, Rita, for feeding us.
We came to Asheville to learn about the Christian writing ministry and came away with new friendships, knowledge and wonderful opportunities. But I also learned how rewarding it is to serve others and to have a smile on your face and enjoy what you’re doing. It does make a difference.
“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.” I Peter 5:6 KJV
On second thought, I just might rethink my retirement dreams and head to The Cove.
Do you think Christians should always be like these people at The Cove? Should they always be smiling and encouraging others? Let me know your thoughts.