Bobbie Jo Morrell is a mountain woman, poet, writer, leather crafter, rustic furniture builder, cat owner, technical writer, website designer. She says, “Colorado’s Front Range, with the smell of pine trees in the cool air of morning, is my home.” Her blog address:


Chapter 12: Navigating a Sea of Navigators

by Bobbie Jo Morrell

Less than two weeks after my spectacular and personally mortifying barge into Christine’s Navigator group as a brand new christian, the two of us piled into my Pinto and took off down I-35 toward Kansas City. I was headed for my first Navigator conference.

The brochure describing the conference was simple black and white, the front looking like an excerpt of a page of want ads. In the middle was one large ad, circled in red: “Laborers Wanted” followed by a Bible reference. Yet I had no idea what the speakers were going to talk about.

After throwing our stuff in the motel room, we gathered with the two hundred other college students in a large meeting room with no windows. I stuck close to Chris, as I knew no one else who was there, not even the folks from our group at college.

Everywhere I heard excited young people reading out of Bibles, reciting verses off of little cards that they carried in their pockets, talking about being “sold out” to Jesus. Here and there the older Nav staff folks wandered, offering encouragement or listening with smiles on their faces. I hadn’t realized there were so many of these radical-type Christians in the whole world.

The speakers spoke, encouraging us to seriously consider what it meant to be a “laborer in God’s harvest” and the possibility of full time christian work. We met in small groups in our rooms to get to know each other better, and hear each others’ stories. I excited many people by saying that I had been a christian for only 9 days—they asked for all the details of my story, and Christine watched with a big smile. Tentatively I began to enjoy being a part of this group, this movement, although I still wasn’t certain what it all meant.

But Saturday afternoon Chris began to be irritable, and kind of upset about something; not her usual cheerful and extroverted self at all. Even I could see it. She wasn’t talking about it, though, and went at one point to our room to lie down for a while, leaving me alone in the sea of Navigators.

I was a relational moron at the time; I had no idea what was going on, or what to do. But I fidgeted, knowing that something was up with Chris and that I wanted to be there for her, to help her if I could. But how?

After some reflection, I decided to try this Jesus thing, and I asked God directly for help. What do I do about Christine?

“Just love her,” a voice rang in my head.

What the hell…? Quickly, furtively, I looked up and down and around the meeting room, but there was no one talking to me—much less anyone that could have read the question in my mind.

“God?” I answered in my head silently—I didn’t want people to think I was nuts. “OK, great idea, but HOW?”

“Just love her.”

“OK, yeah—but could you be more specific?”

The rich voice was endlessly patient. “Just love her.”

“OK, OK…”

So I walked back to our room muttering, “Just love her…” to myself. I had no clue what that meant or how to do it.

Christine was curled up on the bed, reading. Still without a clue I walked over and sat on the bed next to her. Then suddenly a strange and brilliant idea struck me: why not ask her what was wrong?

Terror washed over me at the thought. What if I pissed her off? What if she told me to get lost and stay that way?

I screwed up my courage, opened my mouth, and asked, “What’s wrong, Chris?”

She looked quickly up at me; my hands and feet were suddenly like ice, and my face flamed. But her expression immediately softened and relaxed, as though she had been waiting hours for me to ask just that question. She spoke with relief of the growing fears that had crept up on her this weekend, and what she thought God was doing in her life around them. I listened with relief and wonder. She trusted me! Later I spoke of my fears also, and of what God might do in my life.

A deep, serious conversation about important things, about relationship that didn’t involve a painful injunction for me to back off or go away, and in fact brought Christine and myself closer in friendship! Apparently, God was right.

story by bobbie jo morrell, all rights reserved

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