Geri Swope, retired after more than 40 years at the Assemblies of God
Oregon District office, regularly brings homemade goodies to former
co-workers and businesspeople in her hometown of Brooks, Ore.
Geri Swope includes a tavern on her places to take homemade goodies.
But one Saturday night in 2000, her familiar fudge tray ventured into
unfamiliar territory the local tavern. "As I opened that heavy,
windowless door," says the petite woman, now 79, "I had no idea what
to expect; however, I remembered the voice of the Lord calling me specifically
to go there."
Since then, on the first Saturday night of each month, Swope steps
outside her culture and lives out her faith in another corner of her
The tavern customers and staff look forward to her monthly visits,
which are spent taking an interest in the people.
"I go around and serve everybody fudge," she says. "One man cant
eat nuts, so I bring him a special plate without nuts, with his name
Swope says some employees remember her from their past. "One lady who
works there came up and hugged me," Swope says. "She said the fudge
tray reminded her of when I brought cookies to her Sunday school class
when she was a girl."
Others in the close-knit farming community remember Swope. "One of
the customers was a young man who used to go to our church," Swope says.
"I slid up on the bar stool next to him and asked when he was going
to return to the house of the Lord."
Her presence is a welcome sight, mainly because she is non-confrontational
and shows genuine concern. "I told the owner of the bar, I have
your name in my Bible, and I pray for you every day, and he thanked
At Christmastime, Swope included a Christmas card photo of herself
and her husband, Robert, a retired A/G pastor, on the fudge tray for
the tavern owner. "He put the picture above the bar were
like family to him now."
Swope says her atypical method of touching lives requires patience
and prayer. "This is a whole new world for me," she says. "I would never
go in there with a Bible and preach at them. Im willing to love
them where they are."