Whenever someone asks me how I came to know the Lord, there is one name that comes to mind immediately. Romie Comer.
That name leads to many fond memories of his face and his family.
Romie & Connie Comer obeyed the call the Lord had for them to reach children in our area of West Virginia with the Truth of who He is. Romie was involved in the ministry that drove school buses every Sunday morning, faithfully picking up children to take them to Sunday School and church. I can only imagine the hours that were required of him weekly to maintain this ministry. He drove around on Saturdays, meeting children at play in various neighborhoods and visiting with their parents. On Sundays he’d pick up the children who had permission to go with him. My brother & I (and later my sister joined us for the last year or so that we lived there) would hear him calling every Sunday morning, “Heeey Shirley! Heeey Bubby!” from the door of his bus parked and waiting in the street behind our house. Sometimes we were ready. Sometimes we were not and had to race around the house, throwing on clothes in a rush, maybe brushing our hair on the run. He’d faithfully wait for us. Sometimes we were simply too tired to make it in time, or too sick to go. Those were the sad days. We loved riding Romie’s bus. There was almost always a treat of some sugary kind. Sometimes there was milk or juice to wash down the donuts. Sometimes there was candy. Always there was singing! I loved the singing. Fun songs that he would lead.
Fun songs teaching us about a character by the name of Jesus.
When we’d get to church, there were other adults who took us to our Sunday School classes. I loved the earlier classes…that’s where Connie taught.
She was one of the most beautiful women I’d ever seen. Her face was so pretty…and it glowed. Now that I’m older and understand more, I know it’s Christ in her that radiates the love I felt. She was the one who was there with me when, at the ripe old age of eight, I followed the Salvation path and invited Christ into my heart. I can still smell the scent of the pages in her Bible and
hear the sound they made as she turned them to find each Scripture that outlined humankind’s condition and God’s remedy.
I will never forget the freedom I felt in believing those words she shared.
There was never a question in my mind or heart about their love for me. I never saw them angry (not that it’s wrong to be angry…but at that time in my life, I didn’t comprehend that someone could be angry with me and still love me). They never yelled at us. They never looked down on our appearance. They were never condescending. We were always accepted and loved. They taught us Truth...and they enjoyed it. There were other adults in that church who cared for us, but I didn’t know about their prayers for us until I was much older. And there were a few select individuals who weren’t as patient, weren’t as kind, and weren’t as forgiving of our economic, social and/or hygienic status. Those few faces I will not forget either, but I do not remember their names, nor do they hold importance in my heart other than to remind me to love people…regardless of appearance or status.
I didn’t much care for Sunday School when I got into Jr High. There weren’t as many fun songs or memory aids…and I didn’t know any of the other kids. Being a shy kid, it was hard for me to reach out, but my ears were always listening. I knew that some looked down on us because of where we lived. I knew that some of those kids were just as lost, if not more so, than we were, even though they lived in finer homes and had parents that were Sunday School teachers or other “important” figures in the church. I learned that it didn’t matter what your social status was, you could still be a jerk.
I also learned that “this Jesus thing” was real.
I was used to being ignored by the other kids at church…I wasn’t there for them anyway so it didn’t matter…or hurt…much. However, when Romie’s kids made the effort to kindly reach out to us on a Sunday School picnic (I think it was), that’s when I knew. That’s what caught my attention…this love they’ve been telling us about…this is real. Adults can pretend to love…but kids…not so much. Kids are more real on a peer-to-peer basis. The kindness they showed proved to me that Romie & Connie didn’t just preach this Love, they lived it at home. I knew it was real and I not only wanted to know more about it, I wanted to love like that.
I’m forty-one now, and I’ve recently learned that this family is still serving the Lord faithfully. I pray that the children they have ministered to will remember their words of Truth, realize the love that it took for them to continually reach out, a Love that is bigger than any of us can imagine, a Love that only the Lord can provide, and embrace that Great Love with their whole hearts.
I know that neither Romie nor Connie would not want so much praise lavished on them for the work they do. It would make me uncomfortable for someone to speak of me this way as well…so I understand that. But I am forever grateful that they answered the Lord when He called. I am glad they allowed Christ to move in their lives and allowed Him to love me through them.
Isn’t our Lord wonderful?! He knows what we need before we do!
He knows we need people “with skin on” to love us. He knows how we receive love the best…and He provides. He rescues the lost and restores them. Somehow, even during the restoration process, He equips us who are now found to go back out and reach more of those who are still lost. It’s an amazing process that I will never be able to fully wrap my mind around…
but it’s such a wonderful Love that I do not want to ever let go.
He could have left us in our fallen state, but He didn’t.
He sent Someone “with skin on”
to not only show us what Everlasting Love looks like,
but also to pay our sin-debt so that we were once again
enabled to embrace that Love.
He sent us Jesus.
And I’m so glad that He sent the Comers to tell me about Him. : )
“For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten son, so that whosoever believeth in him will not perish, but have everlasting life.”