Do I remember the first time the Conaway’s visited our church? No. Am I a terrible church member? Yes, but I am getting better. Sanctification people, it’s a process. However, I do remember my first interaction with them at C-Group, and that was the night I knew they were going to be a great fit for our church. Mainly because Bobby told me an embarrassing story about one his first dates with Yvonne when they went skiing, and that’s something that men can bond over. I left that night and told Jordan, “I really like those people. What were their names again?” Like I said, I’m getting better. But it was a few weeks later that really sealed the deal as we were taking prayer requests at church one Sunday morning. Yvonne shared a request about a family that was struggling because their daughter had a serious medical issue. What I remember about that moment was her transparency and vulnerability to discuss her own struggles with sovereignty and hardship, and I was almost moved to tears. It’s not easy to discuss why bad things happen in a crowd of people, even though I’m sure Bobby asks himself that question every time he wants to eat bread, but that’s what really caught my attention that day. Since then, they have continued being one hundred percent real one hundred percent of the time, and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that.
The Conaway’s are a busy family, and before you role your eyes and think, “Yeah me too buddy,” just finish reading why don’t ya. Yvonne is pretty much a Super Woman. She is currently starting the major portion of schoolwork on her road to becoming a Nurse Practitioner, as well as working a full-time job saving lives for crying out loud! She will start clinicals in January, which will be interesting because it means not working during that time. She is aiming to graduate in December of 2018, with the possibility to continue towards becoming a DNP. Right now, however, the focus is to just move one step at a time and see how the Lord works.
Every Super Woman needs a solid Super Man. Bobby working on trying not to get attacked by bees and chickens, both of which can be extremely deadly. He’s been hard at work fortifying the chicken coop, so that things like snakes can’t get in, as well as trying to sustain the bee community he has created. There’s only like a few hundred thousand bees, so it’s not really that hard…Yeah right! It sounds crazy to me when he talks about bees just flying around the front door or the windows like they’re flies. I don’t know about you guys, but if that were the case I would wear a hazmat suit twenty-four-seven!
Both parents already have a lot going on doing what I mentioned above, as well as holding down full-time jobs, but they also have something else they work on. That’s right, Finny Farm, the natural skin care business that Yvonne originally started because of the harmful chemicals she found in household items. What started as a purging of their kitchen, turned into a bonafide business. The markets are getting better, as they have started to have repeat customers, more and more solidifying their brand in this community. Thankfully they aren’t doing all the work, those few hundred thousand bees are allowing them to break into making Finny Farm honey, and they are also starting to make jams along side their staple products such as soap, deodorant, lotion, sunscreen, and bug spray.
So yeah, next time you think you’re busy because you have to mow the grass instead of watch America’s Got Talent, just remember that these two are killing it. There is no way I would be able to juggle everything they have going on, mainly because I can’t juggle. All of that is enough to keep any person busy, but they have three other contributors to the business of life. Yvonne and Bobby are awesome parents, even if they don't think so at times. It is completely evident to me that the hours that Yvonne and Bobby have spent intentionally pouring into their children's lives is paying off, as I have personally benefited by being around some of the most kind, funny, and genuine kids of all time.
Philipp is the kind of kid that when he walks in, you think he’s going to have a chip on his shoulder called arrogance. I mean come on, he’s six feet tall, blond curly hair with a baseball hat on, and a tennis racket in his hand and you think, “I bet this kid thinks he pees liquid lightning”. Well, maybe that’s not exactly what you think, but you get what I’m saying. Thankfully, that’s not what Philipp is like at all. In fact, what I appreciate most about Philipp is that he is exactly the opposite. He is an extremely kind, caring, and outgoing person that looks to serve others and not himself. Now when it comes to Philipp day to day life, it seems that he is adopting the mentality that his parents have. School is usually something most sixteen year olds do, but like Napoleon Dynamite with tater tots, Philip wants to tuck some extra college credits in his side pocket by dual enrolling at West Georgia. Thankfully he’s got a great morning routine that prepares him for all that school…waking up at 5 AM to go into work at Chick-fil-A. Now, maybe to most that would be out of the ordinary, or at least a bit undesirable, but Philipp’s strong work ethic, most likely cultivated by his awesome hard working parents, is what allows him to really thrive in the Chick-fil-A environment. But don’t worry, he gets up that early and works hard in the mornings so he can have free time after school…to practice for his tennis matches! This kid has more going on than most adults I know! And all with a smile of his face.
Now, Jonah has become my most recent acquaintance, and I already know I like this kid. While he does have the golden locks that Philipp possesses and is already taller than Jordan at eleven years old, it’s the fact that Jonah is a unique combination that captures my attention. There are very few young kids that are as respectful and kind as Jonah, that can turn around and tear a football team apart, and then sit down afterward and read half a book in two hours. It takes me two hours to pick a book up after I’ve sat down! Currently Jonah is playing football, and adjusting to life as a middle schooler at Lee Middle School. He has all new teachers, and new students surrounding him, but my opinion is that based on everything I just said, it won’t be much of an adjustment. With his personality, he will be very successful anywhere he goes in life.
Speaking of personality, there is someone who goes by the name Mr. Personality in the Conway household. When you are around the Conaway’s, there is no way to overlook the boisterous and ever funny Phineas, mainly because he’s running around with his shirt off, which is what I do to get people’s attention as well. Phin transcends the role of just being the little brother. He has earned his place in the family structure as the irreverent and spontaneous comic relief as well as the aspiring daredevil. He is very much his own person. It’s going to be incredibly fun watching him grow up in our church. I have a feeling not much will change.
Is it just me or does the Conaway’s story kind of sound like a movie? Think about it.
A young woman leaves her small rural town in Germany to travel to the United States, where she meets a rugged and mysterious American and falls in love. Will international waters keep them apart or will she give up everything she knows for him?
“Watch this summer as true love flies international…right into your heart.”
A film by M. Night Shyamalan
You gotta admit, it sounds pretty good. But on a more serious note, I point this out because I am continually amazed by people’s stories and how God is sovereignly in control of them. To think of the thread of Yvonne’s life, sovereignly and intentionally stretched from Germany and intertwined with Bobby’s, is incredible. And now we have the honor of having that thread run through our church as well and be a part of that incredible story. This family did not come to our church by accident, just as Yvonne did not come to America and meet Bobby by accident. We are extremely blessed that God has placed them into all of our lives, and we could not all be more thankful.