People who have read my book, Building Better Relations Between Pastors and Guest Ministers, (available at www.kennygatlin.com/store), always tell me how much they enjoy my funny motel story in the chapter titled, I Should Have Brought a Pistol. The following is an excerpt from that chapter which I hope you will enjoy.
[x_blockquote cite=”Philemon 22a KJV” type=”left”]“But withal prepare me also a lodging:”[/x_blockquote]
“I had flown all day from California to a state in the eastern portion of the country. Because of the two connecting flights and the layovers between each flight I had been traveling for over ten hours that Saturday when I finally landed in the state where I would be ministering. Unfortunately, I was still several hours from the city where I would be preaching. I picked up my rental car and headed out already a little tired from the day’s travels, and ready for a good nights sleep in my hotel.
I followed the directions I had been given by the pastor, and arrived in town with no problems. The city was obviously growing, as it had many new buildings and businesses, including restaurants and hotels and office complexes.
As I journeyed through the city, following my directions to the hotel where the pastor reserved my room, I passed several nice hotels and even a few upscale ones. On and on I continued to drive until I found the street where I was to turn. I followed the road up a hill and then it appeared. It was a dark and foreboding motel, that looked like one that could have been used in some 1940s horror flick.
It was a little past ten o’clock, and I had now been on this journey for nearly fourteen hours. I’d arrived at the place my host church had generously prepared for me, which was one of the scariest places I have ever seen. It was a very weird place.
I pulled in front of the out building, which was used for the motel office. Really it was more like a shack. When I entered, a one-eyed fellow, who had the personality of Lurch on the Addams Family, greeted me. I went through the check in process and was handed a key, which hung from a large plastic key ring with some abstract shape to it.
There were only two other cars in the parking lot that night, and no wonder. Who in their right mind would stay in a place like this on purpose?
I carried my luggage up the outside stairs and located my room. When I entered, it was like entering a world long forgotten. My room was decorated in early Goodwill, and had indescribable smells. I would be staying here for five nights!
Sometime after midnight there was a large racket in the parking lot. I looked out to see a group of bikers on their Harley-Davidson motorcycles rolling in all stoned out of the minds. I spent five nights in this dump with these Hell’s Angels wannabes, who stared me down every time I left my room.
Being the only man in the motel who wore a shirt, there was no doubt about the fact that I would stand out as abnormal. One night around one o’clock in the morning, one of them attempted to enter my motel room. It was then that I realized that to preach for this pastor, I should have brought a pistol!
I’m staying in the Bate’s Motel, and this pastor is actually expecting me to be anointed for his special services. After a few days of staying in this place, which was bad beyond description, I found out that I could have been staying in a brand new Super 8 motel just two miles down the road for less than ten dollars more per night. Super 8 may not be a five-star luxury hotel, but in comparison to this Bugs-a-Plenty Inn I was staying in, it would have been like heaven!
With all of the lights on the room was still dark. I had to find a store and purchase some 100-watt light bulbs, as the one lamp with its 40-watt bulb made reading very difficult. During the day I would have opened the curtains, but there were two major concerns. One was that Biker Bob and his band of thugs would relish the opportunity to stare in my window and harass me even more. And the other one was that the curtains were already so sun damaged and ragged, that opening and closing them may have caused them to shred further, or fall from the curtain rod.
It wasn’t that I was expecting to be lodged in the Presidential Suite at a hotel, or be chauffeured in a limousine to and from the services. But I did deserve enough respect to be placed in a hotel that was clean and safe. Even if this would have been the first preaching engagement of my lifetime, I deserved to have been lodged in something at least a little better than a roach motel. This place had bugs big enough to ride! You could literally hear them walking around the room at night.”
Occasionally people ask me, did that really happen? And sadly, yes it did. In fact, there is even more to the story than I tell in the book. For example, while I was ministering in this city for this pastor, my guitar was also stolen from the church, and in the five days I ministered for these people they never provided me with a single meal. And then on top of that, they refused to provide me with the travel expenses they had promised to provide when they booked the meeting with me. It was an absolute fiasco.
However, I received an outstanding opportunity to further develop my love walk, as well as put my faith in operation for all of my wasted money I was out preaching there to be returned to me, which it was, as well as to receive a replacement guitar, which I did.
I really couldn’t tell you if these poor, unfortunate pastors and their ministry are still in existence today. Probably not. However, as for me, I am still enjoying the goodness of God in my life as I travel throughout our nation obeying God and doing what He has called me to do, which is helping pastors, helping churches, and helping people.