Monday, February 16, 2009

Where Have They Gone?

The Jesus House is going to have a reunion on May 2nd and I've written a song for the occasion. Actually I've had this tune in the back of my mind for quite a few years and never put it down on paper until recently. I ask the musical question, where have my old friends gone, do they still care about Jesus?

Here are the lyrics:

Where have they gone,
all the friends I have known,
all the ones I have met on the way?
Do they still care,
if Jesus is there,
or has the world swept them away?

I once knew a man,
he had a wife.
His family was the
center of his life
He loved his children,
he loved the Lord
he was a shining light
to this old frosty world.
But my friend became ill
and the Lord called him home,
and his wife and his daughters were grieved
Oh the things I had learned
from being with him
have made a better man out of me.


Once I knew a girl
she was so smart.
The love of God shone in her heart.
She could have been wealthy,
she turned it down
to live with the poor
in some old Haitian town.
She gave up family and friends
just to follow the Lord,
and to give of herself to the poor.
Now she's richer by far
than anybody I know.
For she has her treasures
stored above
and not down below.


Oh my dearest brother
where have you gone?
You once gave us such hope
and helped to make us all one.
But you denied Him
and went away.
You ran into the night
and hid from the day.
Well I cannot believe
all the things I have hear
of the terrible things
you have done.
Brother won't you come home
we are still praying for you.
You cannot hide from the dark
in the Light of the Son.

(bonus verse)
You know this song,
could be about you.
I've seen so many faces
with stories so true.
I hope that in your life
you've learned to trust
in the One True God
Who takes care of us.
So my wish is that you
know the love of The Lord
and take time to talk to Him each day.
And may your life be a light
that shines in the World.
and may you delight
to study His Holy Word

I don't know if I'll include the bonus verse, as the chorus may become too lengthy and redundant after 4 verses. We'll see. The song itself is about 3 very real people that I know. Each one has influenced my life at some point. They all are people that I admired.

So if you are reading the blog, you will know exactly who they are.
The first is a man named Whitey Slayback. I became close friends with the Slayback family in my final year of high school. I must have been around 18 or 19. Joanna was Whitey's wife. She was and still is a staunch Christian. God bless her! During the time I spent with them Joanna and Whitey (Charles) were concerned about their two daughters, Sandy and Kim, who were 13 and 11 years old.

There was a big drug problem in their community. Of course they prayed their girls would become Christians. So Joanna went about organizing a prayer meeting at her home and then decided to open up a Christian meeting place. This was in the basement of an Episcopal church near their home. Whitey worked the second shift at a chemical company. Joanna, her daughters and I would drive out to pick Whitey up after work and we would all talk. As the years went on, I lost track of my old friends, Whitey developed problems with his kidneys and He eventually succumbed to his illness at an early age.

By this time I was married and raising my own family. And though I lost track of the Slaybacks, I will always recall what a great father Whitey was and the wonderful example he set. One thing about Whitey was his very light blue piercing eyes. I can still picture him in my mind. May God bless his soul! I will never forget him.

The next verse is about a friend I met when I first became a Christian. Her name was Brenda Gilfillan. She was a registered nurse and was working at St. Francis Hospital and doing pretty well for herself. At the time she was also attending the Cincinnati Bible Seminary. Gillie as we called her was living with some other friends in an apartment in Price Hill. She invited my then girlfriend Linny and I for dinner. We met a lot of folks that night that became close special friends. Later on we had Bible studies in this same apartment.

Gillie decided early on that she wanted to be a missionary. She left us and a rather nice well paying hospital job and joined YWAM,Youth With A Mission. She came back sometime in the mid 1990's and called Linny and I. We invited her over to our house and she told us all about her career. It was fascinating.

Gillies first mission field was in Haiti and she lived in a tin building with a dirt floor. When she arrived in Haiti she had a pet cat, however the kitty became dinner for some local family. She stuck it out and became friendly with the locals, mostly the women and tried to help out. She was then sent to Brazil and lived their for many years. At first she lived among the poor. The last time I Googled her name she was a trainer for YWAM, but still living in the Amazon. I admire her. (If you google her name, you will come up with a hit for some young girl that works for the Democratic party. This is a different Brenda Gilfillan.)

Finally my old friend, my old brother Kirk Prine. What a sad story, although I doubt if he would agree. Kirk was a student at the Cincinnati Bible Seminary. During his college years the Jesus Movement came upon the nation. Kirk hitchhiked from Cincinnati to San Jose California and lived with a couple for about a year while he attended San Jose State College. Back hen tuition was free in California to State Universities. After being there a year Kirk came back and was a ball of fire for The Lord. He had seen the Jesus Movement on the West Coast and he brought it with him to Cincinnati.

Kirk was always the crusader, the warrior and the leader. He started a Christian newspaper, lead Bible studies and organized Spiritual Revolution Day. This all occurred back in 1971. Kirk became my friend, my brother and was sort of a mentor. We would go to churches and schools and speak about the Jesus Movement to raise awareness. Kirk was a self proclaimed "healed homosexual". If you knew him at this time, you would find that he was totally asexual. He had women admirers, in fact he lived in a community with at least 3 or more women the whole time I knew him, but he was only interested in putting forth The Word of God. Romantic love was of no interest to him. (BTW, the girls lived upstairs and Kirk and the other guys, including me, shared a room on the first floor.) During these years Kirk witnessed many events that could not have possibly taken place without God intervening. Back in the day he acknowledged this.

After I married, I sort of lost track of Kirk as a close friend. We met at different events, but I was devoting all my time to my wife and I was studying to be a OR Tech.

Kirk went back to school and received a post doctorate degree was employed by a large local church as a minister to help homosexuals get out of the lifestyle. During this time, the church paid for him to continue to receive a doctorate in counseling. Sadly the position they placed him in just threw him back to the wolves. He left the church and his position and received a doctorate in counseling and moved back to California.
Linny and I have never stopped thinking and praying for Kirk. The last time we sat down and spoke with him, he had put the same fervor and zeal into promoting the gay life and he did God's Word.

After writing the verse I thought I'd do a search for him and discovered that he is now using a Christian phrase at his web page "How to Live The Abundant Life" to promote his cause.

People are what the are. I cannot change any one's life but my own. At one time I thought I could. God changes hearts.

Old Robert Frost was right when in what he said about that road less taken.
I cherish all the memories and considered old friends to be friends no matter what.

Whitey has gone to the bosom of The Lord. Gillie is still, for all I know, still a missionary. Kirk is living in San Francisco. May God Bless them all and may they all seek Him still.

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