Hello friends. I hope you all are having a good week. All is well here in the Cottrell household. We are working hard to stay cool…in the literal sense of the word. Summer is great…THIS summer is great…although the heat does have a little bit of an angry edge.

My mind is wandering to next week. We have a Living Proof Live event in Charlotte. 

I’ll never forget our first Living Proof Live event in Charlotte, NC. It was in June, 2001. We were in the middle of our 4th year serving with Beth Moore and LifeWay with Living Proof Live. We had already seen God do so much in the first 4 years of serving with Beth, we were google-eyed for most of the time. 

But I was extra pumped for Charlotte. I’m a NC boy, born, bred and Carolina proud. I love everything about North Carolina…the people, the places, the food…everything. You may know this by now, since I may or may not have blogged or tweeted 50 or so pictures of Cheerwine (a NC soft drink) and Bojangles this year alone.

By the time our Charlotte event rolled around in 2001, Beth and our LifeWay LPL team felt like family. This was our FIRST event in NC. So I was pretty much on stun, and pumped to welcome my ministry family to the Motherland. 

To add to the fun-ness of this event, it was also our first time with our sweet Mandisa as part of our team. Another one of our team members, Nirva Ready, had just taken a job singing on the road with TobyMac, and had to pull out of our Charlotte trip (Nirva still sings with Toby, still travels with us, still is one of our favorite people on the earth, and is married to Seth, who sings on our team). I had met Mandisa a few weeks earlier, singing with her at a spring revival at LifeWay. The Lord prompted my heart to call her and ask her to join us in Charlotte. She had 4 days to learn about 40 songs. And she did! I’m so thankful for that prompting from the Lord. Mandisa sang with us for 5 years, and even managed our ministry office for much of that time. 

But the most fun thing about that event was the fact that it was the first one my parents were able to attend. My mom’s health was already pretty quickly deteriorating (she eventually passed away in 2004), so it was a little bit of a stretch for them to travel to Charlotte and come to an event in a big arena. But they did. And I’m so glad they did. My dad proudly wheeled her around in a wheel chair. And he felt so special with the parking place we reserved for them. 

It was the only LPL my mom was able to attend (my dad has been a few times since). She loved it so much. Of course she was proud of her boy and his beautiful wife. But she also loved Beth and the team. And all the way up to her death, she would ask about them by name. 

There’s just something about going home. For some, it’s painful, I know. And for many I realize it’s just geography; just another place on the map. I get that too. But for me, it means a lot. Something about breathing that North Carolina air. Silly, I know. But it’s momentous to me. 

I’m happy to be going home for Living Proof Live Charlotte next week. Anybody else going to be there? 

If you’d like to go, it’s not too late! Click here for more information. I hope to see you there.