"What a Year!" Contest Runner-Up Entry
Title: "My Petra Odyssey"
Written by: D'Anne Bonaparte Garcia
There are some men, who are my friends; we're buddies, more or less.
How did I grow from fan to friend? How did I get so blessed?
Years ago, I didn't know that hymns could really rock.
Secular oldies or sacred songs -- they occupied separate slots.
A long desert ride was what turned the tide.
My son popped in "Beyond Belief".
It caught my attention, not to mention I felt flooded with relief!
"This music is rock but the words are tremendous!
"Christ-centered, uplifting -- to hell they won't send us!"
Chocolate cake and I'm eating it, too!
The tape played endlessly -- I never got through!
From that day on, almost every song
Had the voice of Greg or John.
Our house and van were filled with fans
Perpetually playing that band!
We had to wait
A few months for the date
to watch them live onstage.
The music was loud! There was such a huge crowd! Petra was all the rage!
We could barely see, we were so far back
But that night changed me, and that's a fact!
A bright, happy guy led the songs of praise.
I sang along, too, with my hands upraised.
For years I had done that -- led people to sing.
That man touched my heart, doing that same thing!
"He reminds me of me!" was what I said.
I could not know then, how I would be led.
What he even looked like, I couldn't tell,
But I felt I knew him, and knew him well.
My family and I hurried out to buy
All videos, tapes and CD's.
It was really good because sometimes we could
Even catch Petra on TV!
We set out on a quest, when they'd come out west
To meet them face to face.
We were so loyal, but each time were foiled --
To their next gig they would race.
I wrote to Bob with a heartfelt plea.
He kindly responded with favor to me:
Backstage passes and comps, as well!
We praised the Lord! We squealed, we yelled!
My husband, seven kids and me ---
We were thrilled with joy and filled with glee!
For three whole days before the event,
Many hot hours in the kitchen were spent.
We baked our best cookies -- five varieties --
To show our deep thanks. We could try, at least.
Twenty-five pounds of delicious treats
For the band and crew, so all could eat!
The gift bags were heavy to tote and lug,
But soon we'd give them and share some hugs.
Their concert was super! (as you can imagine)
It was Petra in person! Live and in action!
But more than anything we looked ahead
To getting to meet them, just like Bob had said.
The concert ended -- my breath felt suspended --
What do we do now?
To get backstage, I needed a page or usher
To show me how.
But Petra didn't stay!!! They were whisked away
By a road manager full of zeal.
Gut-wrenching grief! There was no relief
For the pain we were forced to feel.
Some children cried, some were struck dumb,
My husband sighed and looked so glum.
Deep disappointment replaced our delight.
What started out great ended up a sad night.
I vowed that I would try again
To meet these men, and to make friends.
Now John and I had started writing.
When he'd reply, it was so exciting!
Back and forth the letters flew.
Strange what was happening, but friendship grew.
A request for prayer came: Petra would be recording
Some worship songs -- that's so rewarding!
I gathered my children, both big and small.
"Let's pray with some muscle!
"Let's give it our all!"
So every day, for thirty minutes
We'd pray for Petra, from start to finish.
Besides all this, we'd praise and sing
And spend time praying for other things.
We'd also spend time reading the Bible.
For our attention, God has no rival!
Since August first, of '96, with Petra-intercession
We did stick.
For thirty minutes we pray in the spirit,
In tongues and in English, our Father will hear it.
Amazing answers to prayer have come!
We always hold Petra before God's throne.
We booked John Schlitt to sing at our church.
You'll never hear better! (You'll often hear worse.)
Anointed of God to exhort and win souls,
He is mighty in God --- watch out! demon patrols!
Satan, your kingdom is coming down!
A holy rumble when Petra's in town!
Just a year later
The Lord had a greater
Assignment for us to take:
Petra needs a place to play
For a canceled L.A. date.
Hard to describe all the work that involved!
The sweat, hard-earned money, the problems to solve!
But we obey God, that's the way that we live.
We serve Him with love, we work and we give.
Petra's night at our church was a good reward!
Love God with your all and you'll never be bored!
He blessed our friendship with men we love most.
We've traveled with them, going from coast to coast.
But late at night when most folks are sleeping,
We're gathered together -- our prayer vigil keeping.
Before we lie down, we lay down our lives
Interceding for Petra -- men, children and wives.
All glory goes to our Father above
Who led and commissioned this labor of love.
Something I have learned through these close friendship years
Is that Petra needs prayers, not just merch sales and cheers.
It's spiritual warfare we wage everyday.
Please join our prayer army and faithfully pray.
JESUS IS LORD!
P.S. I send my love out to all my fellow Petra freaks!