Rune Rofke - Glenn Emery
I've been in Indiana with Larry Krishnek now since last July. Our fundraising region is Indiana and Kentucky. Our best area is the hollers of Kentucky, down around Pikeville. I love driving teams down there. Coal country is a gold mine for fundraising.
The Indianapolis center is unique in that both MFT and regular church members (non-MFT) share the same house on 38th Street. It's a big yellow-brick duplex with a terra cotta roof. MFT mostly uses the downstairs and the center members mostly use the upstairs. We intermingle a lot, but the two groups are still separate and distinct. It's not unusual for center members to go out with an MFT team for a few days to make money for the center, and vice verse it is not unusual for MFT members who are sick or need a rest to hang back with the center members.
The MFT is the much bigger of the two groups, but the MFT teams are almost always out on the road. So on any given day, there might only be one or two teams at the center. And there are about eight to ten center members. People come and go all the time, so the numbers fluctuate, but the house usually isn't crowded unless all of the MFT teams are in town for some reason.
After my episode with Mr. Kamiyama in New York, I knew I'd be shipped out soon. I was gone the next day, sent to Indiana to be Larry Krishnek's problem. But I'm not a problem to him. We get along great. I knew I was expected to leave the church, the sooner the better, but I was determined not to. Coming to Indiana was probably the best possible outcome for me.
Since I've been here I've fundraised off and on, but my legs can't handle it. Mostly I drive, sometimes taking center members out fundraising, sometimes taking over other teams temporarily if the captain has to leave for a few days. Sometimes I just stay at the center and do the books and make the wire transfers to New York. Mainly I just try to help Mr. Krishnek with whatever he needs. He's a good guy. A decent human being who genuinely tries to take care of his members. I wish more leaders were like him. It would be a much better church.
I think my MFT days are numbered. I just don't have the stamina to fundraise myself anymore, and I hate using a wheelchair. Plus more and more I find I spend most of my time with the center members. The center itself hasn't had any real maintenance done in a long time, so I've taken it upon myself to paint and clean and make repairs. I've discovered I have a knack for this sort of thing. I don't have any experience, but I'm able to figure out intuitively how to fix leaky faucets and rewire light switches and patch holes and put down carpet and all kinds of things that make a center a home.
Somebody left behind a set of weights and a bench in the basement. I've been using it every couple days. Nothing dramatic, but I can feel the change in my arms and chest. I'm definitely becoming more of a man, not so much the kid I was before.
One day I was clearing out the storage room in the basement, where everyone who comes to Indianapolis keeps their personal belongings that they don't need on a daily basis. It has a lot of stuff that people have left behind, and the room was getting crowded. So I decided to try to sort it out, see what we could get rid of. I built some large wooden shelves to get everything off the floor and make it more organized. It raises my spirit to remove clutter. I think Satan dwells amid clutter and chaos. Heaven is clean.
In the process of cleaning the storage room I found an old shotgun. It was the kind that broke apart into two pieces -- the barrel and the stock. I looked down the barrel and it was clean. I examined it a couple minutes and saw how they fit together. Just like that -- click -- I was holding a shotgun. I remembered seeing some shells in one of the drawers in the kitchen. It had always puzzled me where they came from. Now I knew. So I ran upstairs to the kitchen to get them.
No one was home. I went down the hallway in the basement and pulled the wooden door closed. I loaded the shotgun and aimed it at the door. I thought it would be too noticeable if I shot the middle of the door, so I aimed at the bottom. I wasn't sure what would happen. I pulled the trigger and there was a deafening blast. Next thing I saw was a giant hole in the bottom of the door. The concussion caused the door to swing back open, and there was splintered wood everywhere. My ears were ringing.
I cleaned up the mess, took the shotgun apart and put it someplace where only I knew where it was. I stashed some shells away too, just in case I ever needed them. I couldn't imagine ever needing the gun, but it gave me some peace of mind to know where it was and how to use it. I wondered if anyone would notice the gaping hole in the basement door, but no one did, or at least they didn't say anything.
Gasoline right now is in short supply. It has been for a while and looks like it will continue. Something about the revolution in Iran has screwed up the supply from the Middle East. President Carter doesn't seem to have a good handle on the situation.
We've been having trouble getting enough gas each day for the MFT vans. So I built a small storage facility out in our parking lot where we could lock up five-gallon cans of gas. I bought a bunch of cans at the hardware store down the street, maybe ten in all, and over the next several days I got them filled. Just in case a team captain wasn't able to buy gas, we would have some.
I also change the oil on the vans and buy new tires and air filters and clean them and generally try to keep our little fleet in good working order. It makes me feel good. I may not be fundraising on the frontline, but I'm helping keep MFT moving. I feel I'm making a valuable contribution. Mr. Krishnek makes me feel both needed and appreciated.
A few days ago I had to drive to New York to drop off an old van and pick up a new one. Getting to New York was easy. Getting out of New York was a nightmare. All down the New Jersey turnpike I had to stop and wait at every service plaza to buy just three gallons of gas, if they had any. It took me nearly 12 hours to get to Delaware. Absolutely ridiculous.
I spent the night in Dover with the folks. They were really great and so glad to see me. They hadn't known I was coming until just a few hours before I arrived. We hadn't seen each other in 19 months. They seemed better about everything, not so anxious and fearful. At least they seemed satisfied with what they saw in me, and I'm satisfied with that. They don't understand everything, but neither do I.
They told me Gayle will be getting married this summer to a guy they really like. Gretchen has become a real young lady. She's not the little child I remembered when I left home.
On my way back to Indiana, I figured the best way to find gas was along the back roads in small towns. Sure enough, I drove into Pennsylvania to a small town and was able to fill up with no problem. It was the first time I had been able to top off the tank since picking up the van the day before in Manhattan. Once I was on "F" I headed for the turnpike.
I was heading west at 80 miles an hour and saw an exit for Annville. On an impulse I got off. Gary goes to college there, and I didn't realize it was so close to the turnpike. So I decided to pay him a visit if I could find him. I didn't know where he lived.
I pulled into Annville. Gary was standing on the corner. In fact, he was the first person I saw. He was waiting to cross the street, so he stopped, thinking I would go. When I didn't he glanced at the van, then looked back across the street, waiting for me to go. When I still didn't move, he looked at the van again. Waited. I never took my eyes off him. This time he looked at me with an exasperated look that said: "Come on already!"
Then he looked right at me. It took a moment for it to register. As soon as he recognized me he broke into a fit of laughter right there on the street. He couldn't believe it. I couldn't believe it. I had no idea how to find him and there he was. He looked so good. A grown man now. I have missed him so much, most of all I think.
We went over to his dorm and talked for a couple hours. Then I took him to McDonald's and bought him dinner. We hugged and said goodbye and I got back on the highway toward Indiana. I had a long drive through the night ahead of me.
Sometime before dawn I remember reaching the outskirts of Indianapolis. I don't recall how I got to the center. I had driven the streets of Indianapolis so many times I could have done it in my sleep, which is exactly what I think I did. When I woke up I was in the church parking lot. I was still behind the wheel. The engine was off. I must have simply pulled in and gone to sleep right there. I have no memory of it, though.
I went inside to find the center was a beehive of excitement. All of the blessing candidates had to leave immediately for New York to be matched.
That was a couple days ago. Ever since then I've been manning the phones. There aren't enough sisters for all of the brothers who need to be matched, so the age requirement for the sisters keeps dropping. Every time they drop it by a year or two, a few more sisters in the center suddenly start packing their things.
This is such a huge deal. This is what everybody has been waiting for. It's all about being matched and eventually blessed and being able to start a family centered on God. Years of misery and sacrifice and anguish and turmoil suddenly evaporate. Everyone is on cloud nine. I've never seen everybody so happy, especially the sisters. The possibility of having a mate, someone to share your life with, at times seems too remote to contemplate. And then with one phone call, it becomes a reality.
They say the blessing will be at Madison Square Garden, but not sure exactly when. Maybe in a couple years. Supposedly there will be another matching before then. Chances are I will be eligible by then. I'm only 25 now. The age limit for brothers is 28. For sisters it was 27, but since this morning it's been dropped to 25.