Who ARE these people anyway? If I were you, I'd go read the introduction to this series here and then start from "Zoe" on May 2nd!
First thing people ask me? “What were your parents thinking?” Well I wasn't there, so I can't speak for them, but if I was there to speak for myself at this age I would tell them to go for it! Growing up with the name Epaphras was terrible, but the burden eventually turned into a blessing, and now I am glad for it. I could usually win kids over by laughing at my name with them, and then they would settle down and call me Epps, or Eppi or Phrasier or any one of a million derivations. Later I began to direct people to the book of Colossians where the name is found and if that didn't win me a friend, it would at least get them to shut up for a while.
I never really gave up on complaining about it though until that precious day I ran into Teddy again in that hallway and she said, as if she had said it to herself every day for 9 years: “Epaphras, the boy I miss.”
She never called me anything but Epaphras, from that day on, and it began to spread. When they heard the way she said it, even my parents dropped the nicknames they had always encouraged in order to help me through. And when I began to introduce myself with a “Hi, I'm Epaphras,” without any hint of embarrassment or shame, and instead of looking at the floor waiting for the exclamation of choice I learned to look the new person in the eye and follow through with a respectful “What's your name?” as I had seen Teddy do (her nickname was no walk in the park either). With such a simple thing my life was changed forever.
Teddy never stopped changing my life. That night at Drake's, wearing her so sexy blue dress and the biggest smile I ever saw, she started me on a new course that I could never have imagined. It wasn't enough for Teddy to see me accept and even embrace my name. Her goal was that I would become like the original Epaphras; a “dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ.” and “always wrestling in prayer.” I think your research will show, Charles, that her vision was realized over the past 20 years, and yes, you can quote me on that. But only if you also include this one; To God be the glory!
Don't tell me that you were going to guess my narrator's name was Epaphras! (Were you really?) I think the name and the slight description of his ministry that we find in Colossians suggest the perfect foundation for my character. Epaphras is the leader of a small town Church's men's group. Not the Pastor or Priest, but a layman who just wants to serve faithfully, and finds all the help he needs in God. Perhaps you know a man or woman who has overcome much, and gives much, to every person they meet. Please tell me about him or her (or yourself).