Sunday, April 27, 2014

April 27: FORGIVEN

      Sunday morning, Pastor Glenn waylaid Nikki on the way into the sanctuary and asked her to meet him in his office. She complied, not really mystified. Since Tabor Christian had started the Mission, she assumed the senior minister wanted to know how her evaluation was coming along. Nikki imagined Pastor Glenn hadn't heard enough about the Arc Foundation and wanted to know exactly what her friends could do for the Mission. She smiled, anticipating his pleasure in all the possible improvements and expansion in both facilities and outreach.
      "Thanks," Pastor Glenn said, coming in with Rita. "I'm glad your family always shows up early, Nikki. I just haven't been able to get hold of you the last few days, what with everything going on with the Randolphs' accident, and this is something we need to talk about."
      "What is?" Nikki smoothed her skirt over her knees and gave Rita a questioning little frown. The woman just shook her auburn head and gave Nikki that patented unruffled minister's wife smile.
      It reminded Nikki of the month the Holwoods were out of town taking care of Doria's sick mother and she had stayed with the pastor and his wife, while the other foster children had been split up among other foster families in the church. Nikki had been fourteen. Rita had worn that look when she told Nikki some people had arrived who believed they might be her relatives. They had an infant girl kidnapped about the same time Nikki had appeared in Tabor. It had been a false alarm and Nikki had been grateful, because the people she met rubbed her the wrong way. But Rita had worn the same concerned, determined-to-be-calm-and-supportive look.
      "We're having baptisms at the end of the service," Pastor Glenn began. "Several people are joining the church. We thought you should be warned that Brock is joining."
      "Oh." She gripped the arms of the chair and waited for some reaction. Maybe she just felt numb. Maybe she felt it was a little letdown after expecting something earth-shaking. "Thanks. I probably would be surprised. I mean, he could have told me..." Her face heated a little. She and Brock hadn't really had the opportunity for personal discussions the last few days. They had been busy with Mission business or comparing notes on incidents when they thought Angelo and Marcus had been spying on them, anything unusual in the neighborhood, and what the police had passed on to Nikki through Pastor Wally.

      "I want to assure you, Nikki, I am convinced Brock is genuine about his salvation and about joining this community and becoming an active member." Pastor Glenn folded his hands a little tighter on his desk pad and glanced down at his fingers a moment. "I'm also convinced, just from the things he doesn't say, that Brock is here to win you back."

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