Our area is full of remarkable people. If you choose to participate in our community events (like the Nisqually Valley Home and Garden Show this weekend), you’ll experience it yourself. My interpersonal relationships in Yelm have been overwhelmingly good.
Being a pastor in a nearby town meant I was familiar to many people there and it wasn’t easy, doing things with my family without running into people we knew. My kids hated this. We would plan on a fun family day, and run into people nearly everywhere we went, and dad would oblige them in conversations which took away family time. So, we found the Yelm area to be our refuge.
Things changed in 2005. I had ridden my motorcycle ahead of my family to meet them at the Yelm City Park. Some youth were yelling profanities, purposely, to amuse themselves because several young families were scattered around. Apparently, when I raised my voice to simply say, “Hey, knock it off!” it alarmed a few people. One witness knew my wife and as those youth were apologizing to me noticed her husband and his friend were observing as well.
Referring to me, she said, “Do you know who that is?”
He looked at my biker appearance and assessed my harsh confrontation by replying to her, “Looks like trouble.”
She informed both of the men I was a local pastor. The two came over to me and introduced themselves a few minutes later. They perceived me to be the answer to their prayers, and informed me of a guy, running for mayor, who was part of a dangerous local cult — of which I hadn’t heard much about. By the end of the conversation, they had convinced me to research it and write my thoughts about it in the local paper. I did, and subsequently was thrusted into the Yelm community with many new friends and a few new critics.
In the end the cult guy lost the mayoral race by a large margin, and I was blamed/credited at least in part for that outcome. To some I was seen as a kind of hero who stood up for the town. To others I was an unwelcome mean person, poorly representing Christianity.
Over the years I’ve gotten to know several more people in the community, and I am always intrigued by each individual story. Not only have I gotten close to people who have nothing to do with that dangerous cult, but I’ve been blessed with friendships with people in the cult, people who’re leaving it, and people who’ve left it. Believe it or not, I’ve found some who remain in the cult to be kind and genuine people, simply searching for truth.
Besides establishing friendships with various community leaders, I’ve, also, been privileged to get to know nearly all the area pastors. I must say that our area is very fortunate to have so many passionate, sincere, and dedicated church leaders. I’ve found I can count on my comrades in the ministry in Yelm to work together for the greater good.
Just recently I learned three new Young Life leaders around us, including the newest in Yelm, all came through the Yelm Young Life organization, and all three came through the old Coffey Place, the building my church owned and Young Life leased from us. Yelm continues to produce strong Christian servants. We are truly blessed to be connected.
If you can, attend a Yelm community event. Get to know the people, here. Bless them as they will likely bless you.
“Let us be concerned for one another, to help one another to show love and to do good (Hebrews 10:24, GNT).”
Jeff Adams is pastor for Paramount Christian Church. His column appears weekly in the Nisqually Valley News. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.