A voice of encouragement can make all the difference in life – Daily Herald

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The Rev. Greg Asimakoupoulos, left, poses for a photograph with Seattle media legend George Toles, who has been his mentor for over half a century. Courtesy of the Rev. Greg Asimakoupoulos
By the Rev. Greg Asimakoupoulos
Particular to the Each day Herald
Three months earlier than I started my freshman yr at Seattle Pacific College within the fall of 1970, I went to work for Bob Sumbardo, the final supervisor at KUEN radio in Wenatchee.
Because the youngest announcer on the station, I used to be inspired to create a High 40 format for my four-hour shift spinning platters whereas including my ad-lib patter.
The educational curve was steep, however the climb was value it. I beloved my job!
Once I went away to school, I signed up for the campus radio station and was given my very own weekly present. It was a gig very similar to I might had in my summer season job again house. Imitating the deejays I listened to on KJR was a hoot!
George Toles, one of many Channel 95 disc jockeys, captured my consideration. I used to be impressed by the informal Christian references he made to secular songs whose lyrics had non secular values. His easygoing fashion and his voice have been noteworthy.
As I might later uncover, George wasn’t truly a daily KJR deejay. He was the station’s gross sales supervisor who stuffed in for the on-air personalities once they have been on trip. Nonetheless, he was my favourite.
The summer season after my freshman yr at SPU, I returned to my summer season job at KUEN. One Friday night as I used to be working my shift, somebody knocked on the locked entrance door of the studio. The stranger launched himself in his deep resonate voice as George Toles.
“George Toles? Actually?” I responded in disbelief. “I do know who you’re. I hearken to you on KJR!”
The shock customer went on to inform me that he and his spouse, Liz, had randomly tuned in to my radio program whereas driving over the cross from Seattle. He wished to cease and inform me what job I used to be doing. Evidently, I used to be blown away!
George requested if I used to be free to affix him and Liz for breakfast the next morning on the resort the place they have been staying. After all, I used to be free. However why would this digital stranger interrupt his weekend getaway along with his spouse to spend time with me? I puzzled.
As we visited over eggs and pancakes, George gave me a guided tour of his journey as a Jesus follower. He informed me how his life as a broadcaster started. In the midst of dialog, he talked about he was the courtside announcer for the Seattle SuperSonics. He supplied to get me right into a recreation or two as soon as the brand new season started.
I confided to my new good friend that I might sensed a name to ministry since I used to be 12. However I additionally confessed how a lot I loved working in radio. My new good friend assured me I might uncover God’s plan in God’s time.
George’s encouragement to observe my coronary heart nonetheless rings in my head. And George’s encouragement continues to today 51 years later as our friendship lives on. Though he’s battling Parkinson’s illness, he nonetheless finds the energy to talk into my life.
On that morning at Eddie Mays Inn espresso store, I had no means of realizing how the subsequent half-century would play out. My life as a pastor has seamlessly included numerous alternatives to make use of my voice in radio and studio work.
And all alongside George Toles has been a sounding board and the voice of cause.
I look again on that probability encounter in the summertime of 1971 as a “Godwink” that modified the course of my life.
That 33-year-old radio veteran who reached out to a 19-year-old radio novice jogs my memory of one other 33-year-old who appeared for methods to encourage others. Simply as that first century carpenter-turned-rabbi graced others along with his perception in them, I wish to do the identical. I wish to pay it ahead. You too?
• The Rev. Greg Asimakoupoulos is a former Naperville resident who writes about religion and household.

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