This story is part of my experience at Stanwood. It is worth telling, in part, because it illustrates the power and importance of saying thank you.
Here is how I told the story in our 2005 Christmas letter: “On February 12th, I read the Seattle P-I (newspaper) and learned that a shipment of roses has been rejected by a local grocery chain because they were one day late. So I called the distributor to see if I could get some of them (free). The manager said that if I would drive all the way from Stanwood to his warehouse (about 70 miles), he “would make it worth” my while. He was true to his word. I came home with 240 dozens of roses. The majority went to the staff and residents at Josephine, a retirement home where I work part-time. Barbara got nearly three dozen and everyone who attended worship the next day got one rose. But the story doesn’t end there. The co-lay leader alerted the local newspaper and an article was written about the event. Some members of John’s Lion’s Club were so impressed that they gave him money for his “good works” instead of the typical fine for having one’s picture in the newspaper.
“We suspect that this activity resulted in John being recognized in a newspaper poll as the second best pastor in the area. When Father Paul was transferred to California, I thought I would be in line for the best pastor, but the newspaper removed pastors from the list of competitors the next year. Alas, I never became the “best pastor” in the area.
“This once in a life time experience became twice when I was called on July 15th by both the distributor and the grower in Guatemala with the same M-O and offer. This time it was 396 dozens of roses. It was fun sharing such a generous gift to those not expecting them. This time, every woman in worship got a full dozen roses.”