Carmen Labello

When you work in a business like Advertising, Christians stand out. So it was with Carmen. I knew this guy had something different. I was an Art Director and he was a photo retoucher. He was one of the best in the business, however the thing that was different was the love he had for everyone he came in contact with. The receptionist, the secretaries, the mail room man: everyone knew Carmen and loved him. After a while working together, I noticed him on the way out of the office hugging and kissing all the women and shaking hands with everyone. It would take him half an hour to get out the door. After all he was Italian. “Capisce ?” I asked, “Hey are you a Christian?” The answer of course was yes, along with an invitation to come out to Willow Creek to hear Bill Hybels.

The Holy Spirit used Bill’s message to haunt me all week. I used to say to friends,” I usually forget the message by the time I get to the car in the parking lot.” After some convincing, Carmen talked me in to moving out to the Northwest suburbs. I began volunteering with Carmen on sets at Willow Creek, which eventually lead to Willow hiring me as a set designer.

Other than my father, I’ve never really had a friend like Carmen. He is wise in many ways. I went to Carmen often with concerns of all kind. I could always count on Godly advice; about relationships, suppliers, or just how to do something on stage. I can’t put a high enough value on our friendship. He introduced me to Hybels, who has shaped my Christian values, and just his example of a Christian walk has been a reflection of who Christ is.