So yesterday Jim picked me up and we did some catching up on the ride to his apartment.
A long time ago Jim went to our church back home in Maryland and is a friend of the family. Jim moved down to Tampa to do some church planting because he felt God calling him there. He is currently a young adults director at the Radiant Church in Tampa.
Jim told me how the church operates and how it’s been growing and honestly, I think all churches should do this. They have groups of all different activities. They started off with a few groups doing Bible studies, volleyball, and a few others. Then they raised up leaders in each group to start their own groups. Doing it this way they went from a few to I believe he said around 45 different groups.
But what does volleyball and small groups have to do with building churches?
Well, the small groups and activities bring people in that ordinarily wouldn’t come to church and allows relationships between people to build. Many roots holding up the tree. It builds a support network of friends and fellowship in Christ.
Jim went on to explain that they do tons of community outreach. One major one they do is called the Day of Hope where the church epitomizes what it is to be Christian by helping underprivileged kids with everything to food, to clothes, to health and dental care.
Another cool thing the Church is getting ready to do is a helicopter egg drop for Easter. They are literally dropping 50,000 candy eggs from a helicopter for the kids to free for all on a football field.
Anyways, we got back to his apartment and I got to meet Leanna, who I found out is a Nurse and very active in the church. She is getting ready to go to India on a mission trip and being a nurse she is going to help out the people medically as well as spiritually.
We all talked about my adventures and then kicked back and relaxed and scarfed some awesome burgers Jim made and watched last week’s Walking Dead.
I then crashed because after walking 30 miles…everything was sore. I did managed to get the one thing I dream of while being on the road, a shower.
The next morning Jim let me use his computer and I got to updating my content and stories as well as applying to work on some organic farms up in Hudson county through workaway.info.
It is a volunteer site that offers all different volunteering throughout the world. So I applied to work on an organic farm that teaches homesteading skills, chemical free gardening, canning, and lots of other cool stuff.
Anyways, after I got my social media and applications sorted, Jim showed me around Tampa.
I’ve got to say, I like it better than Miami. We went down to the River Walk where there was an art festival going on and checked out all the different booths. So many creative and talented people.
Jim also showed me the old Tampa Hotel that is now part of the University of Tampa. An awesome building with beautiful architecture. Being in it is like stepping back in time. I remember Jim remarking “Those chairs look like they were on the Titanic.”
And I could totally see that being true. After exploring like little kids in a castle, we went out and Jim took me to this well-known coffee shop called the Oxford Exchange.
I liked the atmosphere. Old timey gas lanterns lined the outside and famous old portraits on the inside and really good coffee.
We then got some Chick-Fil-A and talked for a good while and with Jim being a pastor I asked him some questions because as most of you know one thing about my trip is to become a better Christian. One of the ways I’m doing that is not just reading the Bible, but studying it and coming up with questions, which I then ask the pastors at the churches I stop at. Then I research the answers myself to cross check (because taking one person’s opinion from a research standpoint is foolish).
One of the main questions I asked Jim was in regard to the most literal interpretation of the bible. He showed me an app that had all of the different bibles on a scale from exact interpretation to basically paraphrasing.
The one he suggested was the New American Standard Bible which was one of the toppers on the scale of word for word translation.
The one I was using was the King James version, which is still in the upper scale, but there are some differences with phrasing, which is important.
So I’ll be looking into this further, but will likely take Jim’s advice and pick up a NASB (New American Standard Bible) because the exact interpretation of the Bible is what you want to go with if you want to get in-depth and really learn. Other versions are still good and get the message out, but exact translation should be every Christian’s long-term bible.
After eating and talking for awhile, we went grocery shopping and Jim hooked me up with some supplies for the road (more jerky, almonds, and plantain chips). Then we went to this Italian butcher shop that had some beautiful meat. You know it’s good meat by how vibrant the color is. We aren’t talking dead Walmart meat here.
When we got back, Jim cooked us steaks, which turned out amazing. The right food and the right chef can show you what happiness is.
Then we all went out to Yogurtology. One of those places where you can add all kinds of yogurt and toppings and it’s priced by weight. We met some of Jim and Leanna’s friends from church there. Most of them had already heard about me from Jim and Leanna and were dying to hear about my stories which I happily obliged in telling.
Another formula for happiness is good food and good company.
Tomorrow I’ll be going to Jim and Leanna’s church and then I’ll be on the road again.
Forever your friend,