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July 17, 2014 / danaemckee

A Good and Perfect Love Story, Chapter 17 – Roger’s Backstory, part d – Saved!

Roger

Roger’s life did not change right away.  Not long after being rescued from suicide by Jesus in that Athens church, he headed to Washington state to take baby portraits.  Roger worked in Washington and in Oregon, setting up portrait shoot appointments at hardware stores or anywhere.  Advertising the shoot, photographing the babies and children, going back to sell the portraits in two weeks…  He worked hard and made good money at photography.

Sometimes he took speed, Roger confesses, to help him get through a long drive or a long work day.  Incidentally, a confirmation that Roger had ADD or ADHD is that speed settled him down; he claims he was the best, most loving person ever when he took the stuff.  Taking a stimulant when he did not have to work or drive inspired him to write mushy letters to all his friends and family and tell each one how much he loved them/how much they meant to him.  Roger also spun imaginative, fantastic stories about what all he was doing to include in those letters.  Thankfully, he escaped crippling, deadly addiction that threatens many who self-medicate with such substances.

In Oregon, Roger rented a studio apartment beside Charlie, a man who was a Christian.  This guy repeatedly invited him to come to church.  Roger felt sorry for Charlie because of his terrible skin condition – big, dry pieces flaking off, falling around the man.  Finally, for Mother’s Day, Roger took the guy up on the invitation, mostly because the church was planning a meal after the service.  He does not remember what the pastor preached or what Scripture was used that impressed him, he just knows God clearly spoke to him; he was called from darkness to light.  Roger repented of his sin and got saved that morning.  He was changed.  Jesus was real; Jesus was God’s Son, and He loved Roger!  Roger gave his life over to the Lord that day, got rid of drugs and liquor, as he suddenly had no desire for those things, and to complete the transformation, the new, Christian, Roger bought two three-piece suits. Later he realized that, though wearing suits is appropriate for many situations, he did not have to “be Jimmy Swaggart”.  Roger would be himself, now God’s man.

After that small Oregon church discipled Roger for a few months, the pastor and another family from the church decided to move to Reno, Nevada, to plant a church there.  Roger was in.  He’d been saved for six or seven months, and he wanted to lend a hand to spread the Gospel.  Letting go of the baby photography job, Roger donated his monetary savings and moved to Reno to help establish a brand new church.  The Foursquare Gospel got a committed lay evangelist; “The Biggest Little City in the World” got a new night watchman in Roger McKee.

Beginning with a dozen or so folks, they rented a facility and started the church.  All seemed to be going well.  But five or six months later, Mike came to Roger early on a Sunday morning, hurriedly asking him to take the service last minute.  Mike was heading out for California…

“Would you tell Maria and the kids that I will be gone a couple of weeks, but then I will be back?”

Roger gave the family Mike’s message.  Distraught – the kids crying, Maria asking lots of questions that Roger did not know the answers to – Roger stepped up to lead that church service and the next few as well.   Mike disappeared.  Much later when Roger heard of him again, he was not doing well, not living as a good witness to the transforming life that Christ offers.  As far as Roger knows, Mike never went back to his family.

Maria packed up her kids and moved back to Oregon.  The Foursquare church leadership sent Gary and Catherine Steele to Reno to take over the fledgling church being held together by new Christian, “Elder Roj.”  Gary and Caty loved Roger and appreciated his commitment to stay; they worked to get things back on track for the church to continue.  Roger got a job at the MGM, working in the French restaurant kitchen, and started winning people for Jesus.  His plan with the move to Reno, though, was not to settle long-term.  He was going to help get things started, then he was going to Tyler, Texas, to R. W. Schambach’s Bible school/ministry school.  He was going to be an evangelist!  Then a dark-haired young woman with two little kids caught his attention and derailed that train – or put it on a much different track.

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