Greetings from Charleston, SC!
(These first 3 paragraphs were written on Friday, September 8th)
As I begin these Few Thoughts, Leslie and I are about to board an airplane for Philadelphia. We’ve been away since Labor Day for meetings out here in the South. It’s my first time in South Carolina, and I like it out here. The weather is perfect… warm and humid, rivers flowing in nearly every direction, and the days have been wonderfully calm. Calm… until the news of Hurricane Irma began picking up its intensity. Yesterday the governor declared a State of Emergency, and our AA flight that was scheduled to lead us home through Miami was cancelled. So, I began working with agents online and by phone, trying to figure out what I should do to get back home.
If you have not heard by now, allow me to share just one more piece of “Garman News” with you. Four weeks after our accident, to the very day, Leslie’s parents were involved in a horrific accident… sending her mother and father, both, to the hospital. Her dad was cut and bruised all across his face while her mom sustained a broken neck injury. She broke her C-2 in the vertebrae. But, we are thanking the Lord that there is no paralysis or further damage from this fracture. However, she has been in the hospital for nearly two weeks now and in need of tending to.
With two accidents on the minds of all family members, and the complications and treatments ongoing for her sister who has mesothelioma, Leslie and I thought it best to NOT brave the storm coming towards Florida, Georgia and South Carolina… and found a flight leaving today for Philly… and home tonight. Lord willing, we’ll be home by nightfall.
Well, today is September 14, and the writing I started back a week ago was put on the backburner and here I am, Thursday nearly a week later. All is well… sort of. Thankful for your many prayers for Leslie and me and of course the family. Leslie continues to make trips back and forth to Porterville to assist in the needs with her folks. I am so grateful to the Lord for His guiding hand on us as we move ahead.
ENCOURAGEMENT: First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. God, whom I serve in my spirit in preaching the Gospel of His Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you. (Romans 1:8-10)
As I read this opening statement from the great Apostle Paul to the Roman churches, my first thought is “GOOD, I’m not alone…” Paul did his very best to get out and see everyone. He had tried numerous times to get to Rome… but each time he fell short. So what did he do? He prayed… thanking the Lord each day for the churches in and around Rome. Thanking the Lord for the believers, for all of the members in the body of Christ. For me, these words of Paul ring so true, and I can honestly say that as I drive along the freeways (though, most of the time they aren’t so “free”) or as I pass by many of our cities, communities, and areas where we have to work… I’m lifting the pastors up to the Lord in prayer. So many faces cross my mind of the people in our congregations, and I see the needs, and read the reports, and I pray that the Holy Spirit will reveal an incredible vision to all of our local bodies.
My prayer today is that God will use you in your place of ministry. Don’t give up! Stay encouraged! Our Lord will be present in your time of need as you stay connected to Him and to His Word. I love you and I am praying for you…
DISTRICT MATTERS: Thank you for your generosity in collecting funds and resources for the needs from the two hurricanes that have swept through the South, and for those who were affected by the earthquake in Mexico… and to also include the flooding in Asia and other parts of the world. May the Lord bless your efforts as you reach out to bless others!
- Charleston: A few photos taken of our time in Charleston, SC las week. Leslie led the music for the week that we were there, and I wish you could have heard the song she wrote with all of the acronyms we use in the COTN. It was a lot of fun. Pastors who are going to the retreat… perhaps she will sing it for us next week. You will also remember the mass shooting at the AME Church several years back… Leslie and I dropped in to visit the church and see a few of the people. “Love is stronger than Hate!”
- L.A. Eagle Rock: A couple of weeks ago I was able to visit with our church here. I invite you to continue praying for Pastor Francisco Valenzuela as he recovering from a broken tailbone and time in the hospital. He along with his wife, and co-pastor Guillermina, are ministering to our people in this city.
- Lancaster Valley View: I love to see creativity in our local churches. This past Sunday while visiting Valley View, they were receiving Alabaster offerings, participating in upcoming church outreach events, and hosting a Ministry Fair all at the same time. Thanks Pastor Mike & Kami Whitten, along with your leadership team for the many ministries ongoing in Lancaster.
- NewNaz: A few Saturday nights ago, Leslie and I made our way to Pastor Josh & Courtney Johnson’s home for their Open House Block Party. It was great seeing several new faces. I even received a free back and neck massage. Thank you, Wat!
- Westchester: What a joy it was to see the ministries in outreach taking place the other night in Westchester. There were more than 50 teens gathered together for their youth group at the church where games were played, songs were sung, and the scriptures were studied. What a great way to do outreach, Pastor John and Amanda Huddle along with your team of leaders!
- Crisis Care Kits: Here is a note from our L.A. District NMI President:
Dear Pastors and NMI Presidents:
On Saturday October 14, a U-Haul truck will transport Crisis Care Kits for the LA District. We will take these kits to the Sacramento Compassionate Ministry Center. Their current supply of kits have been delivered to and distributed in Florida! A trailer was strategically placed outside the path of the Hurricane at a Nazarene Church. The team made it out safely, and returned to begin distribution immediately after the hurricane passed. What a beautiful display of the love of Christ. A tangible means of saying “you are loved” during a time of tragedy.
Please be in prayer for Tim Garman, NMI President at Newhall Church, as he has graciously volunteered to drive our U-Haul truck to Sacramento. This is a huge savings to our churches, and will allow more kits to be assembled.
Please confirm that your church will be a part of this group effort to supply our Compassionate Ministry Center with Crisis Care Kits. The need is great at this time! We will arrange pick up points along the path the truck will be traveling, as few as possible as he has a loooooong day ahead of him.
Just a reminder that we must adhere to the exact inventory listed for the kits.
(Traveling treats might be appreciated by Tim)
Thank you for being a part of this venture, and for all that you do!
Debra Hamrick, Los Angeles District NMI President (805) 448-6381
I look forward to this coming Monday-Wednesday as many of our pastors and spouses will be together for our annual retreat in Pismo Beach. I understand that the temps could be a bit cooler, and some of our times in worship will be outdoors… so you will want to bring a sweatshirt or two along with you when you come. I’m excited for these days as we will be together. Pastor Ron Fay will be our special speaker and I know that we will enjoy his presence. See you soon!
One last item… as you journey through the month and prepare for your local church board meetings, I want to remind you to keep on track with your support to the various allocations. I am so thankful for all you do to keep on target with you District Unified giving, as well as the three other departments. Much of what we receive we do our best to put back into ministry. Thank you!
I love you and I look forward to seeing you down the road…
Greg A. Garman
Los Angeles District Superintendent
Church of the Nazarene