This story appeared in the December 2010 issue of the Leon Springs Community News.
Story by Pamela Price
(Photos coming later today.)
It’s a bright, brisk and breezy Sunday morning in Central Texas. On the south side of Boerne Stage Road, near where the historic roadway intersects with Baywater Stage, stands a man bundled and gloved against the chill. Frank Muegge waves at passersby, greeting them all as beloved friends with a warm “God bless you.”
A vehicle turns quickly into a nearby driveway. Muegge moves to greet the driver, who climbs out of the car and rushes toward him, a plastic gift card tucked in her hand. She tells him the card is for him. Words are exchanged between them as cars zip past. He’s clearly moved by her generosity.
“I see him out here every Sunday. I go to a different church, but I see him and he moves me, every Sunday,” says Jeaneen Klem, who has traveled Boerne Stage Road regularly for four years. “He’s wonderful. He smiles and greets you, whatever the weather. He always makes eye contact. It touches my heart. It’s Christmas, so I got him something, hoping maybe he could go buy a cup of coffee later.”
When asked the value of Muegge’s Sunday morning roadside ministry to her personally, she responds, “It’s just a God thing. We need people like [Muegge] here. Pure and simple.”
It’ll be five years this February that Muegge started to greet travelers in front of his Leon Springs Baptist Church, where he and his wife Rebecca are members.
“It all began when Frank started working with me as a greeter, helping people make their way from the parking lot to the church. Carrying car seats and the like for families with kids. And then he started going out to the road. He doesn’t just wave and greet people. He prays for all of them. And people know it. We hear that all the time, that they know he is praying for them. It’s hard to believe it’s been four years now,” says Rebecca. “I know [he’s a local fixture]. We meet people all the time who recognize him. Some people think that he’s the minister, but he’s not. He’s a deacon now, though.”
Pastor Dan Allen comments that he regularly encounters people whom, when learning that he’s the church’s senior pastor, immediately remark upon Muegge’s Sunday morning activities. Most remarkable to Allen and Rebecca is the fact that Muegge isn’t by nature as outgoing as passersby may believe.
“Frank is a quiet introvert by nature,” says Allen. “God took him out of his comfort zone and blessed a lot of folks!”
“I tell people that I’m a screaming introvert,” says Muegge, chuckling. “People in church who say that they couldn’t come out and do what I do-well, I tell I couldn’t go into the church and do what some of them do to serve. I’m too introverted.”
Muegge begins blessing travelers around 9:15AM every Sunday. He ends around 11AM, joining his wife inside the church for the end of the 10:30AM morning service.
“On occasion, we’ll come back from a trip and I’ll say ‘maybe we should stay home’ on a Sunday morning. But he’ll say ‘No. I have to be there,” says Rebecca. “That corner is his church.”
Although the San Antonio native is outside year-round, he confesses a preference for the warm months. “I can’t stand the cold. I’m a South Texan.” Rain or shine, Muegge says that his Sunday morning prayers are intended to “help make this holy ground, as far as I can see from left to right, filled with the Holy Spirit.”
“Sometimes when he comes in to join us for church, he’ll have tears in his eyes. I’ll ask what happened, and he’ll tell me that someone stopped to pray or brought him water or a cup of coffee. He’ll be so moved. It’s remarkable to see,” says Rebecca. “Last weekend, we had a couple come to the church. They’d driven past the church on Sunday morning for 3 years and seen him. They’d felt him praying for them.”
“I try to respond to each traveler. You can tell from their faces, they all have particular needs,” says Muegge.
Stops like the one that Klem made a few minutes earlier to express her gratitude are infrequent but not rare.
“That doesn’t happen terribly often,” says Muegge. “But people will stop. Sometimes they ask for prayers for their child on a first birthday.” He pauses, gestures toward his eye. “That really gets me.”
Among the travelers this Sunday morning, it’s the children who greet him most enthusiastically. “That’s a reflection of their parents and their upbringing. What they pick up as a child lasts-even if they stray, they come back. I spent 40 years in the wilderness, and I came back to God. The trick, of course, is not dying in the wilderness, but you never know.”
When asked if what he’d want travelers to know about his work, he says emphatically that he’s “not out here to convince people to come to this church. It’s about the Kingdom of God. I’m here, just serving. As Jesus was faithful to his followers [he gestures to his church and back to the road], I should be to them.”
Around the bend comes another car-a minivan, and Muegge moves to offer up another Sunday morning prayer.