Hi Church Family,
I'm back! And I missed all of you! First a big shout of thanks!!! Thank you to all of you who covered for me when I was gone. Second, I want to share with you a few reflections about my vacation. To say the least, it was a rollercoaster ride! Allow me to use this as an analogy.
First there was the roller coaster peak-when closed friends from NJ visited us two weeks ago (Cathy and Doug). It was great hanging out with them when we visited various places here in Washington. The weather, nature, scenic places, and reconnecting with old friends-its amazing and revitalizing. And with a 90-degree temperature and pollen allergy in Jersey, they loved it here Washington!
But then, there was the news about my mom. This is the valley-low of the rollercoaster ride. She was in the ICU for more than a week. For those of you who have aging parents, you know how that feels. It's a bitter blend of faith that she will recover and a spiritual readiness to let her go in God's hands.
Then there was the rollercoaster loop. I wanted to go home but realized that I don't have a passport yet. Even an expedited passport will still take about a week. Also, going to the Philippines is a big financial commitment. Then, we can't find anyone who will take care of my kids as my wife goes to work everyday. Anyway, when I was ready to go, my mom started to improve rapidly. Yesterday she was taken out of the ventilator. Last night, I was able to speak to her by phone. Her faith is amazing. God is amazing! (That was the second peak).
There is a verse in Jeremiah where God says, "For I know the plans I have for you, plans to take care of you and not abandon you, plans to give you a future you hope for." Its tough when you feel that you are in seasons of rollercoasters. Sometimes you enjoy the ride. Sometimes you have to "endure" the ride. You don't know its twists and turns, its ups and downs. So every now and then, you have to remind yourself of 3 things: God is with you, you are not in control, and all rollercoaster-seasons will not last.
Thank you for allowing me to have a two-week-Sabbath. Now, let's continue the journey as a church. And in many ways or for many reasons, lets continue to enjoy the ride!