Several Critical Events
In the fall of ’85, I wasn’t sure of much. Several things happened that fall that would have lasting impact. As I mentioned at the end of last week’s post, I quit the band that I thought would be a fulfilling of my call. I had no idea what God had in store, but it was during that fall that the story began to come together.
First, I quit the band. Second, I was terminated from a well-paying job. Third, there was Pam. The first two came together, along with an advertisement in Contemporary Christian Magazine. A Christian musical organization was looking for vocalists, instrumentals, and technicians.
That organization was The Continental Singers. I contacted them and they told me to send an audition tape. They liked what they heard and gave me an opportunity to tour with them in the summer of ’86 playing bass guitar. I spent the remainder of the fall, winter, and spring preparing. I had to learn the music for tour and raise the funds (much like a missionary would.). We’ll return to that in a moment.
Even though I was living at home, there were still financial obligations. I found a job through a temp agency at a company called Day-Timers. This becomes huge in developing who I am. The job involved taking incoming calls in the company’s call center. “No big deal,” you say. There was a two week training period. The first week was cramming our brain with the info we needed to properly take calls. During the second week we went live. I believe I just about hyperventilated on that first call, even though there was a supervisor right next to me helping me along. I was shaking so bad at the end of the call it was ridiculous. We had to take three calls as the supervisor watched and listened. I stuck out the assignment – I don’t quit easily. By the end of the six months (it was seasonal based on the calendar.) I was enjoying the job. Each year the company took the best temps and put them on their payroll. If I hadn’t been committed to going with Continentals, I probably would have been asked to stay on. But they let me go and told me to call them when I got home. This was the beginning of me coming “out of my shell.” After that, I took various temp jobs to fill the time until it was time to report to rehearsal camp in California.
In addition to all that, there was Pam. We had been dating about a year that fall. What would touring for a summer mean to our relationship? I wasn’t sure, but I sure enjoyed being around her. This was the most serious relationship I had been involved in. Was marrying Pam part of God’s plan? After some serious prayer, I really thought it was. I proposed to her at Christmas, and she said yes. So the pieces were in place.
One more influence that was part of this era was Rev. Ken Masterman. Ken and his wife Betty were hired at our church as music director. Our music program at Trinity was still quite traditional. Ken was a wonderful spiritual man and a tremendous choir director and vocalist. He took me under his wings and started developing me as a musician. Our church switched hymnals during this time. The other hymnal, even after several years, wasn’t very popular. For the first time a church we were attending went with an interdenominational hymnal. “Praise and Worship” music wasn’t on the radar yet. Ken has passed on now. He influenced many through out his years of service to the church.
As you can tell, the college and career days were full of important milestones — which bring us back to The Continentals. I had never been away from home for more than a few days. This was going to be a big adjustment. I remember the night I was to fly out to California, I was up all night – I couldn’t sleep. I was thrown into a completely foreign environment. About four to six days into rehearsal camp, I got homesick. That feeling took a few days to go away and I recovered. After ten days in Santa Barbara, CA, we were off on a three month tour of California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, back across Canada and down the west coast. It really was quite an experience and I was convinced that God wanted me to be in full-time music ministry.
So what happened after I got home? Where would the journey lead next?