Monday night was surreal. The Epoch Missions Gala was a black tie event to honor men and women who have devoted their lives to taking the gospel across the street and around the world. I was humbled to even have my name mentioned among such heroes of the faith. Thank you to Wes Gay and Tammy Preston for the nominations. I think that an event like this is long overdue. I hope all the missionaries in attendance were encouraged and reminded of the challenging but high calling that has been placed on their lives. On a separate note, I don’t think Cornel and Duncan had ever been at an event this swanky. We had to raid Nick’s closet and mine to find clothes for them that would be suited for the black tie attire. I think Duncan wears my suit well!
It was such an honor to be selected as a finalist in the people’s choice category. I had the privilege of sharing the category with Kim Pace. If you don’t know the background there, she is the person most to thank for helping CARE for AIDS get started. She connected me with Cornel and Duncan and the rest is history. So, in short, I was among good company. At the end of the night, it was announced that I had won the People’s Choice Award and the organization was awarded a grant of $3,540. I was blown away! My only disappointment was that we didn’t get the chance to celebrate the other heroes of CARE for AIDS that are much more deserving of an award than I am. From Cornel and Duncan, to Nick and Caleb, all the way to the center workers, those guys are the true heart and soul of this organization. The entire night was extremely well done: the food, the music, the venue, and the content. Not to mention that there were dozens of worthy causes represented that deserved recognition. I anticipate that attending Epoch will become a priority for me in years to come. Check it out at epoch2011.com.
Let me conclude by recounting a favorite moment from the night. Jon Acuff, the emcee for the evening, opened the program with a short anecdote about his young daughter who had commented on a photo she saw in a magazine that her dad was reading. She saw a picture of a young starving boy and inquired about him. Jon told her that the boy didn’t have any food to eat. The young girl replied, “But that’s only pretend, right daddy?” With some more work, I know there will be a day when HIV/AIDS will only be pretend. Who knows, maybe it will even be before Jesus comes back.
So, to echo Jon from the other night, what is it that you dream would one day only be pretend? What are you doing about it?