Tahoe men make ‘Promise’
Sprinkled through the sea of men gathered Saturday on The National Mall in Washington, D.C., at least half a dozen South Shore residents stood with fellow Promise Keepers to pray for their families and nation.
No official head count has yet been released, but “hundreds of thousands” of men filled the area from the Capitol building past the Washington Monument and spilled onto side streets.
Whatever the count, Christmas Valley resident Rick Lewis had a 3-square-foot spot on the mall where he stood to listen to speakers, including Promise Keepers Founder Bill McCartney, and to kneel in prayer.
Lewis, owner of Rick’s Fix-It and a father of three, was overwhelmed by the site of so many men of many races kneeling in repentance for the sins of America.
“It’s an experience I’ll never forget,” said Lewis, who has been involved with the local Promise Keepers organization nearly since it began about three years ago.
About 10 to 20 men, sometimes as many as 50, meet monthly on the South Shore to study the “Seven Promises of a Promise Keeper.”
Since returning to South Shore from the Washington event, Craig Zager, a member of Tahoe Community Church, hopes to see the local group become a stronger organization.
“Tahoe needs an active group of Promise Keepers to meet regularly to hold each other accountable,” said Zager, who described his experience last weekend as “the most incredible day in may life.
“I saw thousands of men committing to build strong marriages, practice spiritual, moral, ethical and sexual purity; including myself.”
Nevada-Tahoe resident Mike Gayor, a father of two and married for 20 years, went to Washington for the sake of his children and the country they will inherit.
“We’re at a fork in the road in this nation,” Gayor said, referring to the proliferation of gangs, drugs and abortions. “We need a revival. We’re trying to do everything ourselves instead of seeking God’s help.”
A pilot for US Airways, Gayor is often gone for days at a time, but, conversely, is home for several day stretches.
“Sometimes I become selfish and wander off doing what I want to do,” Gayor said. “I’m making a stronger time commitment to my family.”
Men’s commitment to their families is one of the chief goals of Promise Keepers.
Some fear Promise Keepers’ family emphasis is a return to traditional family roles that make women subservient to men.
“(The message is that) it’s time to serve your wives, not try to subject them,” said Lewis, who saw a group from the National Organization for Women setting up boards with slogans that changed the “Promise” of Promise Keepers to “Patriarchal.”
If they listened to the message, he said, they would not be critical.
“We’re not trying to exclude women in any way whatsoever,” Gayor said. “We’re trying to learn how to serve our ladies, to be spiritual leaders in the home.”
The wives of the Tahoe men encourage their involvement in Promise Keepers.
“I think its wonderful,” said Lewis’ wife, Debbie. “How can we complain about men being motivated to do (what they should be doing).”
“I think it’s awesome, something America really needs,” said Zager’s wife, Terri. “(Promise Keepers) opens their eyes to the fact we are equal. … Promise Keepers allows men to focus on what their families need them to be.”
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