Again, I want to thank you for the many prayers and words of encouragement you have shared with us these recent weeks. Thank you! I will head out tonight on a red eye for Miami and then out to the Virgin Islands for my brother’s memorial service this weekend. There are still few answers to what might have gone wrong on the dive. Perhaps, upon my arrival, I will learn more. Following the service, we will have an “at sea” burial. I appreciate your prayers as we continue moving on. I will return late Sunday night, August 30. The family here in California has decided to wait until late October to travel to St. Croix and meet together for our time of closure and remembrance. So, the plan will be to schedule a few days where we will all travel together to meet up with the family in St. Croix for a special gathering.
Life continues to keep me busy, and hopping from place to place. As I travel around the district, I am so encouraged at all I see. There is so much to give thanks to the Lord for! The church boards I have been working with have been more than ENCOURAGING to me. The Los Angeles District truly has some of the finest people around. It wasn’t long into my new ministry that I discovered that I’d soon be doing lots of travel. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been shopping around for the new “District Car”. I finally settled in on the Hyundai Sonata. It is really a nice car. And I want to thank you for allowing me the privilege of riding in comfort. In six days I have put 1009 miles on it. I trust that this will NOT be the norm. I really don’t think so, but there have been a couple of long distant trips that had already been on the calendar. So… here is a picture of your new car:
ENCOURAGEMENT: God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy dwelling places of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved. (Psalm 46:1-5) Growing up in the jungle as a young boy, I loved to travel on the river. In fact, my greatest and only desire years ago was to drive boats up and down the Marañon River. There was a thrill that came to me as I sat in the back of a long dugout canoe with a 40 horsepower outboard motor maneuvering it upstream carrying cargo to its new destination. I loved the gentle breeze cooling my sun burned face as I stared up ahead meandering my way along the river bends. The current swiftly rushing by as I’d dodge a whirlpool here and there. I recall looking out over the thick jungle canopy and seeing the construction of a new chakra (jungle garden). Passing village after village and seeing an occasional fisherman holding a line from the back of his canoe… These images are engrained in the forefront of my mind. I can still picture each one as if I’m there right now… smack in the middle of the jungle making my way up the river.
The river may change its course, especially following years with heavy raining and flooding. Underwater sandbars will shift from one side of the river to the other. Logs and fallen trees deeply immersed in the shallower areas can cause great damage to a propeller… and one must learn just how to read the river and its conditions before traveling its waters. But… even after 50 years of river travel… and as I return to the same Marañon River… there’s one thing constant. One thing that has not changed… moved… or shifted. And that is… large boulders. Huge rocks in the middle, or along the sides of the river. Before leaving home, the boat driver needs to know the exact point of where these rocks are situated. Especially when traveling downstream, with a boat load of materials, these rocks remained constant. Immovable. Strong. Firm. It did not matter how strong the rains were… or how high the floods rose… these rocks remained constant.
My God has been a constant presence in my life these recent weeks. In my weakness He is strong. And as I travel this lonely river of grief and sorrow, He is my steady Rock. My refuge. My present help in my time of need. And the beautiful part is that he uses His church to also provide comfort and care. May the Lord continue to show us His presence! He is there. He is standing firm. And to Him I will lift up my eyes.
DISTRICT NEWS: Allow me a moment to give you a few updates from around the district.
- Paso Robles: I had the privilege of worshipping with the Paso Naz Church this past Sunday. Pastor Brent Wylie and his staff are leading an excellent ministry up on the northern part of the district. They do not have a place of “their own” so they have to set up and tear down each and every Sunday. What a joy it was for me to spend a few moments with them last Sunday.
- Granite Ridge: You all know that we have a camp up in the north part of the district… not far from Paso Robles. I was there for meetings with the camps board last Friday and Saturday. Please be in prayer, along with me and the leadership teams, as we continue casting vision for Granite Ridge.
- Pastors’ and Spouses Retreat: I can hardly wait for this three day retreat we are to have in Pismo Beach from September 21-23. We have more than 75 already registered to come. Dr. David Busic is our special speaker. Our theme is “Re-Kindle”. Have you registered yet? Remember, this is just one more way to become connected with the team. I hope to see you there.
- District Office Building: We are still in need of filling the second floor of this building. Currently, we are about ¾ full. Would you pray with us that we might find another group to lease the other half of the second floor?
- Glendora Community Church: has an office folding machine for sale at a reduced price of $150 (or best offer). It is an older machine, but works well with standard paper or heavier weight paper. Does not fold card stock. If interested, please contact the church at 626-963-7637.
As I get ready for September, and look over my calendar… there are several conventions and conferences that I am headed off for. All of which are needed as I enter this new focal point in my ministry. Leslie and I will be leaving for Chicago and Milwaukee next weekend… and then the following week to the Global Ministry Center in Lenexa. We would appreciate your prayers as we travel.
I love you all… and I do look forward to seeing you down the road…