The Welcome Center
Drive Thru. . .
The week of August 22
I recently was on a trip with my kids. We had been fighting traffic and rain for the better part of 14 hours but when we got near the little town of Bowman, South Carolina we had to make a quick exit.
In the slightly more than one square mile that is Bowman, there is one blinking light, one restaurant and at least 16 churches. Nearly 1,200 people call Bowman home.
“There is not much here. Sunday afternoon you can ride around in your car, that’s about the most excitement around here. All except for the spaceship,” said Jody Pendarvis. In the shadow of the town’s only gas station sits what you could call Pendarvis’ cosmic condo. Decades of work and love have turned wood and aluminum into a 42-foot wide planted saucer. He calls it the UFO Welcome Center.
“I guess some people have a destiny, a vision, and my destiny must have been to build this.”
In 1994, Pendarvis started piecing together wood from his grandfather’s house to build his own. But anything square was too square for him.
Pendarvis is known as the alien ambassador.
“Seriously, I am here to welcome the aliens from out of space.”
Inside, you find 4 stories filled with Christmas lights, space-related videos, a mess Pendarvis claims the aliens left behind and some of his 13 cats.
Pendarvis cannot explain why he pours so much time and already more than $20,000 into his hobby.
“Some people think I ought to turn it into a ghost house for Halloween,” he said. “Since this is the only attraction in Bowman, I think I’ll run for mayor and maybe I’ll get it.”
One time as Jody saw a UFO circle Bowman he was dismayed that the saucer did not stop. His conclusion . . .the UFO center was not big enough. So that was the inspiration to add the newest layer…the top saucer. In the summer that is where Jody stays. It is cooler in the saucer than in his trailer and the top section is made to come apart easily if the aliens decide to take him with them.
Some people hear his story and see what he has done and are impressed, some just shake their heads, and some think he is crazy. Having been there and seen it I have my own opinion, but I will leave you to make your own decision.
But if you land on deciding Jody is crazy. Let me share my spiritual thought and point (you knew there had to be one…right?) If you think Jody is crazy let me tell you what I think is really crazy.
I think it is crazy for followers of Jesus Christ not be to living transformed lives, living radically different lives, living radically joyful lives, and living at a set of standards with a view of the world that leaves others impressed, amazed, and changed.
Yet, so often…there doesn’t seem to be anything different about the followers of Jesus than those that don’t follow. It is crazy to me that people who follow the Creator of the Universe would settle for the mundane, dull, and dreary existence that many have settled for. It stuns me that followers of Jesus would choose not to be obedient and live each moment for Him.
Instead, we whine, gripe, moan and complain about how life is unfair, how we have been done wrong, and spend so much time focused on ourselves that we have an emptiness that we just can’t understand or comprehend. And it doesn’t have to be that way!
To me…for followers to live like that is crazy!
At least Jody has a purpose in his life that gets him moving every day.
I just think for followers to live like they aren’t is crazier.
Just a lesson I learned in Bowman, South Carolina at the UFO Welcome Center.