Sept. 21, 2019 Steve Martin’s “Four Louis Brothers Ahava Adventures” trip to Israel book
Meet the Four Louis Brothers
It often amazes me how the good Lord brings people together for His ultimate plans and purposes, to be as one in walking them out. Being God, All-Knowing as He is, and the Perfect Planner which I highly admire, I continue to grow in thanksgiving and much appreciation for what He does, and how He does it.
When Little Big Eagle, the Native American who had been on several worship teams and bands playing bass guitar with us, which my good wife Laurie and I had been putting together since we started leading them back in 1994, invited me to the Rock Hill, South Carolina, worship service to meet a young, black, millennial pastor in his mid-30s, I simply said, “Ok. For you Eagle.” He was delighted at having another opportunity to play bass. Me? Not so much. I didn’t know what to expect, and so my expectation level only went so high.
I am all about the Body of Christ coming together in unity, but I wasn’t too excited about driving the 40 minutes south from our home in Pineville, North Carolina, the “Bethlehem of Charlotte” as I like to call it, to go to Rock Hill. Being located in South Carolina, that still carried a “Really?” attitude with many North Carolinians. (Change us, Lord, and remove pride and all haughtiness in our lives.)
And then to find out that the fledging congregation, called The Movement, was meeting in another church’s gym that Sunday in 2013, certainly didn’t impress me any further. I had had enough opportunities in the past in being involved with “new” churches with building projects ongoing – both in people and structures – and this just made me drag my feet a little bit more.
But when Laurie and I met Lathan Wood, this young man hailing from the Atlanta, Georgia, area, whom he later said had been “called by God to leave his home town and come here to start a church”, I was open to giving the Lord the opportunity to do what He wanted to do. Kellie, his beautiful wife, and two young lanky boys, much like Lathan himself, who were maybe 4 and 6 at the time, if not younger, did have a call on their lives. That was proven during his worship leading, preaching, and prophetic ministry time throughout the service that morning.
Being the Lord had already given me a heart for African Americans (having wanted to be a missionary to Africa since I was 10), I started to get open to what the Lord had in mind in connecting us.
Greg Partipilo was an older gentleman in his early 70’s when I first met him at Antioch International Church in Fort Mill, South Carolina in early June 2018. He was head of the Men’s Group, and using his decades of chef skills, made the men’s monthly Saturday morning breakfast gatherings a big success.
I had been wanting to be a part of these men’s group moments (free food!) but my part-time job at the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, running one of the three cash registers in Ruth’s Attic Gift Shop, prevented me from doing so.
When I came on staff at Antioch in October 2018 as a “Pastoral Assistant” (Christianese jargon for doing part-time accounting and administration work for the congregation) it was a “Walla!” moment. Now I could come to the 9 am scrambled eggs, fluffy pancakes, crisp bacon, Southern-style grits, homemade biscuits and sausage gravy (Yeah, Ted Cramer for making those superb delights!) big breakfast events which Greg led.
Greg had a quiet manner about him. Not too pushy as some tend to be when trying to get men to come together. I liked that. He had this “upright air” about him too. That in itself drew me to him. When I first met his delightful wife Irene on a Sunday morning at the church meeting, who is a bubbly, very pleasant lady, I thought, “He married well.” He thus must be trustworthy, so I looked forward to getting to know him more.
You want to know something about a man? If he has a happy wife, he has a happy life. Forty-two years of being married myself to Laura Jean has proven that true! God loves that which He has joined together in holy matrimony. He gives much grace to make it last!
And lest I forget, Greg can really drive a golf ball. Someday I just may be invited to walk with him and our mutual friend Leo Grabowski on the links, just so I can say “I stood among these tall men of God” on the course – both in the natural and the spiritual.
David Lauka hails from the Lone Star State of Texas. How did I know? His big, heavy-duty Ford pickup truck, silver and gray of course, had a Dallas Cowboy’s license plate on the front of it. When a guy drives around North and South Carolina with a non-Carolina Panthers logo on his “noticeable from afar pick-‘em-up” vehicle, you tend to figure he truly is not from these parts. And so being my son-in-law Jonathan Avalos was also from the nation within a nation, himself a big Cowboys fan, David also came on my “approved” list.
Though it was tough getting to know David a little better, himself being a quiet man, more so than most other men, I was going to make a go at it. As I also can be quiet often, the conversation flow didn’t flow as well as I would have liked. But knowing that he was going to retire from his professional nursing career in early 2019 gave us some common ground to talk about. Being I had just retired from my full-time accounting job on the last day of October 2107, a bonding platform to launch from was present.
Through my books, which I trust by now you have read all the previous 24, you certainly know a bit about my history. Thus, I need only to say that as you read this book, with the four of us setting out on the Love For His People ministry’s “Four Louis Brothers Ahava Adventure” to Israel in September/October of 2019, you will find out more about each one of us, and how the Lord is doing a thing among men.
Now isn’t that exciting, ladies!