Saturday, March 9, 2013

chapter 9 the honeymoon

Henry was good with the way his life was going. He was back in school working on his education degree. He had gotten a good scholarship. He was getting paid for his work as a teacher’s aide. He liked his church. He liked his night life too. He and Lisa would have their arguments, sometimes about marriage. He kept telling her they would get married, but he never did anything about it. He preferred things the way they were.

But then Lisa’s parents got into the mix. They thought it was time for Lisa to move on. They couldn’t understand why she stuck with Henry. Lisa was smart and artistic. She had always been interested in fashion. Her parents suggested she go to Paris for a year. There was a fashion school there. Paris was the epicenter of fashion, so how could she lose? Her mom told her they would pay for everything. Lisa hadn’t said anything to Henry about this. She knew what his reaction would be. But the more Henry dragged his feet, the more she thought about it.

Finally she told him. “It will just be for a year,” she said.

This sent a shock wave through Henry. He started thinking real hard about his relationship with Lisa. She was beautiful and so much fun. He was sure he'd lose her if she went. "And if I lose this girl," he thought, "I'll never find another one as good as her--to marry a scoundrel like me."

He asked her to marry him and the wedding took place at the Central Gospel Chapel in Miami on July 17, 1976. Henry had his brother Juan Alberto as his best man. They took off on a five week honeymoon. They went through the Smokey Mountains and then up to Toronto where they stayed with David and Agnes Adams. The Adams had been missionaries to Cuba. When Castro came into power, the Adams had to return to their home in Canada. Henry admired David. He was an excellent Bible teacher. David asked Henry to lead the singing at their church fellowship. Henry also shared at their meeting.

But Henry was a smoker. A couple times a day he would make an excuse to get out of the house because he had to have his cigarettes. He was careful. He would only smoke while driving in his car because if he smoked when he walked, a neighbor friend of the Adams might see him.

Late one evening it was raining, so Henry could only crack open the car window while he smoked. He heard a weird sound coming from the engine. He got back pretty late. He meant to open his car windows before he went to bed, but it was still raining.

The next morning Henry heard the sound of a chainsaw. He went outside and saw David cutting trees from his yard. While Henry was helping him with the wood, he told David about the strange noise coming from his car. David said to him, “Well I'm ready for a break! Let’s take it for a ride.” When they opened the car doors, the smell of cigarette smoke came out at them.

“Who smokes?” asked David.

Henry thought for a bit. He knew he was in trouble. "What should I say?" He worried for a moment. Then he was mad. He looked David right in the face. “I do,” he said.

“You know it’s a dangerous thing for a Christian to go back to something that God has delivered him from,” David said to him.

Later Agnes Adams talked to Henry. “I don’t know if you understand what the people at the chapel would say about David if they found out about your smoking.”

Henry didn’t say anything. He was angry before, now he was angrier. “Why is this guy talking to his wife about my smoking?” he thought.

Henry kept thinking about it. Henry respected David. He wanted David to think well of him. But something inside him snapped. He thought to himself, "I don't care what any of these people think about me. Why should I care? I'm tired of it."

They took off the next day to a place near Worcester, Massachusetts to stay with Myles Beers, Bob Beer's older brother. They stayed for several days and went on to reunite with the Adams' for the last two weeks of their honeymoon at the Adam’s cabin in the Smokey Mountains.

They came home to Miami at the end of August 1976. Henry got back to work and back to school. The Christians at the church were happy to see them. But something had changed inside Henry.

Bob Beers was commended to the Lord's work and moved to Holiday, Florida. With Bob gone, it got harder for Henry to appreciate the others at the assembly. Some of them got under his skin. Henry showed up at the assembly less and less. Finally he just quit going. This was tough on Lisa. These people and the way they worshiped were a big part of her life. She tried to continue to go by herself but it was hard.

One night out of the blue, John Quentin, an elder, along with another brother from the church, drove out to the Sardiña house. Both Henry and Lisa saw them as they came up to the door. Lisa was nervous. She let them in and they sat down. She asked if she could get anything for them. Henry was mad. He thought, “I’ll make this real quick.” He went to his bar, pulled out a bottle of Scotch, filled a glass with ice and poured in whiskey. He came back with the glass in his hand and the bottle in the other. "Can I pour you men a drink?" he asked.

They didn’t stay long. They couldn’t think of much to say.

When they left, Henry said to Lisa, “What a bunch of hypocrites!” Now for sure he was never going back to the assembly.

*Henry's note - To this day Henry is eternally grateful and thanks God for each and every Christian mentioned in this chapter for what they tried to do for Henry's benefit, because of the love of Christ. None of their labors or zeal was wasted. God later brought their teaching and testimony forcefully to Henry's recollection and used it to shape Henry's, doctrine, work ethic and zeal for the Lord Jesus. "Therefore my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord."

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