Surprise! Minister, wife meet Oprah, receive unexpected gifts
For a recent special, though, Winfrey and friend Gayle King hitched a pop-up camper to a Chevrolet Tahoe hybrid and hit the road to Yosemite National Park.
The purpose of Winfrey’s adventure: to meet Shelton Johnson, a black park ranger who complained that few African-Americans visit America’s national parks.
While exploring Yosemite, Winfrey ran into Woody Square, who has served since 1992 as youth and family minister for the San Leandro Church of Christ in California. Square is black.
“Hi, where are y’all from?” Winfrey asked Square and his wife, Judy.
“Guess why we’re here?” King chimed in. “Because we were told black people don’t normally come to the forest. And we go, ‘There’s a black man!’”
“Surprise!” Square replied with a laugh. “I’m the first one here.”
The Squares, who were visiting Yosemite with friends from Australia, posed for photos with Winfrey and couldn’t stop talking about the encounter.
“It was totally surreal,” said Woody Square, who earned an associate’s degree from York College in Nebraska, a bachelor’s in Bible from Harding University in Searcy, Ark., and a master’s in ministry from Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif.
“The fact that we met her was amazing,” said Judy Square, who served with her husband for six years as missionaries to Papua New Guinea.
A week later, an “Oprah” producer called and invited the Squares to fly to Chicago and appear on the show. The producer said the show would take care of everything — flights, chauffeurs, accommodations and all tips.
During the taping, the Squares chatted briefly with Winfrey. Near the end of the show, the host again smiled at them.
“Woody, it seems like camping just brings you so much joy, right?” Winfrey said to Square, who visits Yosemite yearly. “So, come on up here, guys.”
As the Squares stood next to her, Winfrey said, “So, I would have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Yosemite, and everybody should get there at least once in their lifetime, don’t you think?
“But the truth is,” she said, “I have to finish the 25th season, and the next time I go, I’m going to find a butler.
“So, I won’t be going anytime soon. So, I want to give you guys the keys to my Coleman camper. And, because you guys have been so great, you need something to pull it with. So, I’m throwing in the Chevy hybrid Tahoe.”
Woody Square leaned his head back in surprise.
His wife put her hands over her face.
Winfrey didn’t know it, but the Squares’ 11-year-old Toyota Camry has 220,000-plus miles on it. They were hoping to make it last another two years.
“We really felt it was a God thing that brought us there at the right time at the right place,” Judy Square said of crossing paths with Winfrey.
God does work in amazing ways.
mi igat bikpela hamamas tru long yutupela na long wok yutupela i save mekim, na mibilip dispela em wanpela wei long God i strongim yutupela.
Lae. Papua New Guinea.Wesley WosseTampawiLae, Morobe
Papua New GuineaDecember, 21 2010That’s awesome. Sometimes good things DO happen to great people!!
Woody, Hey, If you visit Harding or AR, you’ll always have a place to park the camper! Love to se y’all again!Barry BentleyHolly SpringsPangburn, AR
USDecember, 18 2010Great to read all about your story. God is good and may He continue to bless you.
Mi amamas tru lukim long pes bilong yu tupela.
Love from Tom & Rens Bunt.Tom & Rens BuntThe Point Church of ChristBrisbane, Quennsland
AustraliaDecember, 15 2010Congrats Woody and Judy. You guys are a blessing and should be blessed. Drive on over and we will celebrate with you. God is indeed great!Dr Tobey HuffSabetoVuda Point, Lautoka
FijiDecember, 14 2010This could not have happened to nicer people. Went to York with Woody. A great guy.david ramseyEastsidecolorado springs, colorado
USADecember, 6 2010I saw the show and it was so exciting! Especially getting that Tahoe ~ what an awesome surprise! Oprah was really generous…and we know its a God thing! Blessing on the family and happy camping!Martie NollOak HillsSan Antonio, TX
United StatesDecember, 5 2010What a wonderful blessing for the Square family–I am sure they will enjoy the Coleman camper and the Chevy Tahoe they received from Oprah. This is definitely a blessing from the Lord. Best of wishes to the family.Sharon SkinnerCentral Church of ChristShawnee , OK
USANovember, 27 2010I can’t think of a more deserving couple! God is good!Steve ByrneChurch of Christ at Pearl HarborHonolulu, Hawaii
USANovember, 24 2010Congratulations, Judy and Woody! I usually don’t watch Oprah, but I would love to watch the show when you are on it. Let us know! Herman and Sandy HughesHerman W. HughesKelseyville Church of ChristLakeport, CA
USANovember, 24 2010Great story of sharing no matter who you areBetsy BaumanPicayune Church of ChristPicayune, MS
USANovember, 24 2010(Please forward to Woody.)
What a wonderful surprise! I’m so happy for you. And I remember with joy our time together in Memphis.
BillieBillie SilveyCulver Palms Church of ChristCulver City, CA
USANovember, 24 2010When will the Oprah Winfrey Show Air?John BostStrasburgStrasburg, VA
USANovember, 24 2010
Tent City Church of Christ