Lynn Horton is a freelance writer and editor who in another lifetime taught English and Creative Writing at McIntosh High School and later worked in the Starr’s Mill High School Media Center.

Why was I standing on the side porch at the United Methodist Church in Senoia on Sunday afternoon at 3 o’clock? The temperature on the white concrete steps was at least 102, but the small group that I joined there were enjoying a blessed breeze which wafted under the cover of the little porch. I had changed into pedal pushers, a soft cotton shirt, and flip-flops before heading out after church and lunch at Katy Lous. Now I was better dressed for the unseasonable oppressive heat. May is usually one of the most enjoyable months of the year here in the South, but, oh my. Hot. Hot. Hot.
Earlier, our friend Jim Barnett had asked if we knew that someone was holding auditions at the Methodist church in Senoia at 2 p.m. Sunday. He had seen it in the paper and shared that small tidbit Sunday morning with us. Not much more information was available, just his insistence that I “should go try out” for whatever this opportunity was to be in the movies!
So, exchanging my pearls for gold hoops, heels for flats, and a nap for a possible adventure, I grabbed my Press Pass (expired), my clipboard, a recent copy of The Fayette County News, and headed out to what I hoped might even be an opportunity to become a Star; at the very least, I could get material for my column.
Great Goodness! The seats in my car threatened to burn blisters everywhere the sticky faux leather touched me. This better be good.
When I arrived at the beautiful historic church at 2:05 p.m., a small gathering of four stood on the tiny side porch. I also saw two very nicely dressed older ladies sitting in their vehicle enjoying a bit of shade and the residual cool of their air conditioned car. Hmmmm. Only six folks. Not much competition, I thought selfishly. And one was a little girl about five or six along with her mom. When I got to the porch, I saw that Lily had come prepared with a head shot her mom held as they waited anxiously for what would be their first attempt I later learned at getting into TV or the movies. No one seemed to know much more than I, or at least they were not telling if they did.
Who were we to meet? How did they learn of the auditions? Had they spoken directly to anyone? Were the two handsome young men veteran actors? I first engaged Lily’s mom Cindy and learned that she had spoken to a lady who was the writer for what would be a sequel to a film to be aired on the Life Channel. No one was quite sure what that was, but it was a chance for a job. Cindy had even been sent a packet and had come prepared and hopeful for her well-behaved little girl. The two young men were indeed veterans of the film world. Their stories were eerily similar. I spent the next hour and a half—in the heat—listening to tales of their journeys which had led both of them from jobs in Christian Ministry to the world of acting. Neither had formal training in this new field of endeavor, but both had the same mission.
Cory, tall, lean and handsome, had come to the area from Oklahoma about seven months ago with his wife and three children and had landed steady work as a Zombie on the popular Walking Dead series. Before Oklahoma he had lived the life of an itinerant musician, traveling all over the world. He met his wife in Venezuela, and his future in Peru. He had overcome adversity in his youth, yet never believing that he could not succeed. He had Jesus and together, they “Never quit!” Living off faith in Christ, according to Cory; he would “Do this work (movies and ministry) till the Lord takes my breath away.” He was not afraid of “Failing Forward,” an idea he attributed to Will Smith. This was not what I had expected to hear. Not from a millennial. Not from an actor. I was stunned.
Aaron, dark and handsome behind aviator sunglasses, had a beautiful smile that would look great on the Big Screen. Coming north to Atlanta from Tampa, Florida, 10 months ago, he shyly admitted that he “had a Vision” leading him to “Step Out” of the world of traditional ministry and into a world where sin seemed to be winning “Big Time.” Both men agreed that they took comfort in knowing that as bad as the world situation may look, as prevalent as evil may seem, “God wins in the end!”
Aaron, also married, did take an eight week Master’s Class in Acting from Greg Allan Williams of “Burn Bright” movie fame. I admit that I did not know who these people were they excitedly talked about as giving them help and advice or inspiration in the industry, but I did know the one Aaron said was his greatest motivator. The young man shared his passion for Christ and his belief in God’s presence. Aaron said he turns to John 14:26 for encouragement.
“But the [a]Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. ” (John 14:26 NKJ)
“Then,” Aaron added, “ … just attach people to Jesus and He will take it from there.” He smiled brightly. We talked more. I learned more.
You never know what a hot summer afternoon will bring. The lady who was to audition this little group never showed up. But on that tiny porch that is part of a magnificent house of worship in the small town of Senoia, Georgia, I learned that there is Hope in this next generation. Hidden among the most unlikely people are His workers.
I love it! I could not wait to share this gift of hope. Don’t you love it, too?