It all started with the Methodists which should not surprise anyone. My colleague and friend, the Rev. Charlie Reynolds, was servng as Pastor at Providence United Methodist Church at the time. To intice his VBS children to raise money for missions, he volunteered to be “slimed”. My church got wind of his act of sacrifice and suggested that I should not allow the Methodists to outdo the Baptists. Therefore, I should offer to have green yucky stuff poured all over me. What’s a country preacher to do? I consented. Money poured in like never before. There was such joy on the faces of the VBS children as they anticipated this preacher covered in slime The adults seemed almost too happy. So slimed, I was. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be and we did rasie money for missions. The Baptists were not undone! Praise God!
For several years in a row after VBS, I was slimed. This went on until a new VBS Director volunteered for the position. Her husband raised goats so she came up with the brilliant idea that instead of being slimed, I should kiss a goat. How bad could it be?
The money came in so quickly we met our mission goal in two days. The church was happier than I had ever seen them. So we upped the ante. If we raise this much more, so and so would also kiss the gaot. Long story short..by the time VBS was over we had 13 people kissing the poor goat. Since I was the main attraction, I was to go last.
The day for goat kissing arrived and one by one, the VBS Director, assistant director, teachers, deacons, and everyone we could think of lined up to kiss the goat. I stood back and watched as one by one they took their turn. All the while I was thinking to myself, this goat is not liking this one bit. He is saving his wrath for me. I am going to get it! My concern must have shown on my face because Shelby came up to me and started to whisper..Pastor Vallerie, Pastor Vallerie. I bent down to listen. Here are the sweet words she spoke to me: “You don’t have to worry about kissing the goat. I kissed it for you.” What do you mean? I inquired. Shelby continued: “I went out last night into my grandfdad’s field and kissed a goat. Don’t worry, it won’t hurt you.” Never has this country preacher felt more love. When my turn came, I knelt and boldly kissed that goat right on the lips. It was a moment I will hold in my heart forever.
On April 16, 2010, we lost Shelby to cancer. She was 12 at the time. It was the saddest day of my pastoral life. I will never forget her and the thing she did for love,
I count it all joy,