Thursday, August 27, 2015

Explo '72

 One of the group that I got involved in during my freshman year at Anderson College was Campus Crusade for Christ.  My two suitemates, Steve and Lenny, were also involved in it.  We went to gatherings at Clemson.  One of the events we signed up for was Explo '72, which was going to be held in Dallas, TX in June.  Steve, Judy (Steve's girlfriend), me and a few others left Greenville on the bus to go to Dallas.
 The bus drove all night, and we got to Dallas the next day.  We stayed in a motel in Arlington.  The motel overbooked their rooms for the event, and the only room left for the 3 guys in our group was a suite which was built for 8 people.  We thought it was great, since each person could have their own room and bathroom.  Our meetings were at UTA.  We heard Andrae Crouch, Danny Lee, and others.  Our night meetings were at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.  We heard from Bill Bright, who headed Campus Crusade, as well as other religious leaders.  There were also musicians including Barry McGuire and Johnny Cash.  There were 100,000 college kids from all over the country to attend this week-long event.
 One of the goals of Explo was to send people out by twos and witness to 8 people, thus witnessing to every person in Dallas.  It was a monumental task.  Each pair was given 8 addresses in the Dallas area.  I went with a girl I didn't know.  One of the pair would present the gospel message, while the other one sat quietly and prayed.  She volunteered to speak.  I volunteered to pray.  We knocked on doors, but no one came.  It was the middle of the afternoon, and most people were at work.  There was one lady home.  She invited us in, and we presented the gospel to her.  She said she went to church, but she had not heard the message presented in such a way.  She gave us some water, and we went on our way.  Everyone else either didn't answer the door or weren't home.  I don't know how many people made a decision that day.
 When we returned back to the motel one night after a Cotton Bowl rally, Steve wanted to say good night to Judy.  The other guy wanted to get something to eat.  So, I went to the room.  When I opened the door, there were two kids in a rollaway bed in the front room of the suite.  I just figured that they had put them in our room, since we had so much space left over.  I went down the hall to my room; opened the door; and found a couple sleeping in my bed.  I left them, and went outside.  I found Steve and the other guy and told them that other people were in our room.  Steve thought I was lying, so he went into the room to find the same thing.  We went to the front desk, and they told us that a large family had come to the motel, while a double room had checked out.  The motel moved our stuff into the double room, and moved the family into ours.  They showed us our new room, and it was like entering the twilight zone.  All of our stuff was placed in the exact spots where we had left them in the other room.  The motel had taken polaroids of our stuff and used the pictures to place our stuff.  Even the toothpaste and mouthwash in the bathroom were exactly where they were in the other room.  One other strange part of this night--the family never woke up from their sleep, while we were walking around the old room.  Our initial thought was that they had stolen our stuff.  We could have killed them all that night as they slept, but that wouldn't be the Christian thing to do.
 On Saturday, which was also my birthday, Campus Crusade had the Jesus Music Festival in downtown Dallas.  100,000 people were there.  So were Johnny Cash, The Carter Family, Billy Graham, and a lot more.  Judy, Steve and I were toward the back of the crowd.  I told Judy about my life story of bullying, suicide attempts, and other stuff.  She felt so sorry for me that she told me she was changing her major to psychology to help people like me.  I don't know if she did.
 After the festival, I got on a Greyhound bus to go home.  The bus went to Atlanta, where I was transferring to a bus to go to Columbia.  While I was sitting in the waiting room of the terminal, I saw the news that there had been a break-in at the Democratic Headquarters in Washington, and the perps had been arrested.  I remember thinking how stupid those guys were.  Little did I know that was the start of Watergate.

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