Greetings! It’s a bit hazy out there these recent days with temps cooling off a little as we enter the fall months. Perhaps, there is still time left for one more hot summer day…
Again, Leslie and I want to thank you for your prayer support and encouragement as we continue on this road to complete recovery. Leslie is still fighting daily headaches, but she is returning to the things in life that have kept her moving and busy. She works a lot with the local high school choirs, and right now… she is returning home from 3 days in Houston with her sister who is undergoing an experimental treatment for mesothelioma. As for me, the report from the orthopedic surgeon is “severe shoulder injury” with torn cartilage, tendons and rotator cuff. However, we are trying to NOT have surgery, and see if I can heal on my own. We will know better in 4 weeks. So for now, I will try and run (slow jog) so long as my shoulder and calf allow. Doc says that running will not injure the shoulder anymore.
ENCOURAGEMENT: SUMMER IN THE PSALMS Praise be to the Lord, who has not let us be torn by their teeth. We have escaped like a bird from the fowler’s snare; the snare has been broken, and we have escaped. Our help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. (Psalm 124:6-8) I’ve always been afraid of teeth. Have you ever been bitten by a dog? I remember days back in the jungle when my friends and I would journey out to Kashibo Cocha to go fishing… Piranha fishing. That was always the best. Before placing the bait of caiman (alligator) meat on the hook, we’d get copper wire and wind it up the nylon fishing line about an inch up from the hook so that when the fish would bite… they wouldn’t bite through the line. We’d then paddle our way out in our small wooden canoe to the reeds of the lake where the water was calm and warm. Then we’d splash the water, bang our paddles against the canoe drawing all piranha to hang out underneath us… and we’d drop our lines that were tied to the end of a bamboo cane. Within seconds we’d pull in a fish. As soon as we brought one in… took the hook out of its mouth, and placed the bait back on the hook… we were ready to go again. And one thing I remember… I hated to get bit by a piranha… it’s not that it hurts a ton… their teeth are sharp… and they are quick. But… when we would get careless, taking the hook out of its mouth… inevitably, we’d get bitten. And we’d bleed. Of course… that’s what our mouths were for, to suck the blood off our fingers… and get back to work.
Never fun to be bitten… I was always afraid of getting bitten by a bat… for fear of rabies. One time I was high up in the Andes of Ecuador, and my friends and I trapped this mink looking like animal… I was closest to it, so I reached down and grabbed him. He did not like to be grabbed, as his neck cranked around and his mouth connected with my hand, he took a chunk out of me. I dropped him and he was on his way to freedom. I had a few pet caimans growing up… they too, have sharp teeth. And then there are monkeys… their teeth are not so sharp… but when they don’t want to be played with… they too, will bite. And that’s, yet, another story…
So I echo these words of David when he writes, “Praise the Lord who has not let us be torn by their teeth…” Of course, everything described above was all my fault… and through it all, I was protected. But, what I really love in this psalm are the final words… “Maker of heaven and earth.” Many of us took a few moments out of our day on Monday to don those silly looking glasses… as we passed them around, for one simple reason… to see the solar eclipse. And wow! It was a pretty neat experience. I loved it… though we did not get a 100% blocked view… it was still quite amazing. Those living up in the north or east of us may have had a better and more full view… but this did not all come about by chance. It didn’t just happen to get this way. I praise the Lord for His complete control and creative power over all the land… water… skies… and universe. My God is an awesome God! And He IS IN CONTROL.
DISTRICT MATTERS: Most of our schools are back in full session… though there are a few that have yet to begin. With this mindset, we return to many of our routine things in life. I am praying that the Lord will use us to be effective ministers in all of our places of influence. God has us where we are for a purpose. And I want to do my best to glorify Him in everything!
- Allocations: Allow me this moment to remind all of our churches to stay on top of the WEF, Pensions, Educational and District Unified Allocations. We are called to belong to the team… and many missionaries, hospitals, clinics, educational institutions, retired pastors, and the Los Angeles District rely on your support. For those churches who have stayed with it through the summer months… thank you! If you are behind in your giving to these ministries, would you please take a close look and do your best to get caught back up? Thank you for your faithfulness!
- PK BBQ & POOL Party: Leslie and I had an AMAZING time last Saturday with 22 PKs in our back yard eating hot dogs, chips, junk food and swimming. Thank you moms and dads for bringing them our way. We hope that it was a nice time for the kids to connect and to reconnect with each other. We love our PKs!
- North Hollywood: This past Sunday I was with our people in North Hollywood, spending a brief moment with the Armenian Church and privileged to preach in the Spanish speaking Church. Pastors John Tashjian and Carlos Perla, along with their leadership teams are working to find new ways to reach their community for Christ. Please join me in praying for these two congregations as they work to win N. Hollywood for Jesus!
- Pastors & Spouses’ Retreat: I’m looking forward to our time together in a few weeks as we meet up at Pismo Beach for this retreat. Rev. Ron Fay will be our special speaker and as I glance over the schedule to our time together… we are in for an awesome time! If you have yet to sign up… please do so, NOW!!!
I love you and I hope to see you soon. May Jesus shine through you as you shed His light on others!
Greg A. Garman
Los Angeles District Superintendent
Church of the Nazarene