This past weekend (Memorial Day in the US) we drove down to Muscatine, Iowa, to spend time with God’s family there. We weren’t aware of it, but this congregation has been supporting us faithfully for 20 years! And there is a lot to remember here.
The family in Muscatine has our picture up on a board (right next to Sue Foster!). So when we come back every three years or so, people know who we are. But they also know our names. The first morning here we went out to breakfast with the seniors and it was the ladies who asked Shirley – “So how are your two boys?” They ask about them by name.
We remember being here one year during Vacation Bible School when Scott got to play Jesus and Shirley was Salome at the resurrection. We remember sharing a barbecue behind the church building, playing discgolf on a local course or basketball on a court down by the river, learning about the city from Connie or Lloyd or Janet. It is always coming home, here. We even Skype in a Sunday with this family to be able to worship together.
This year we have been able to make new memories, staying in a different place with people we already knew. And we were able to renew our friendships and family ties with the Schellekens family. Although we had not counted on this being a holiday weekend – Memorial Day – it worked out that we were able to see so many people who we may not have seen otherwise (and them all grown up!).
It is not always easy to remember names. This weekend we met new people: Arthur from Liberia, Lilian from Ukraine, Jeff (MayCastle if you translate his name), Ethan (who is off to Birmingham in June to tell people about Jesus) and many more. And although we may not remember all the names we would like to remember, we will keep trying. God knows our name. God knows every hair on our head. He knows what each one of us is experiencing and how difficult it can be.
One of the questions the congregation in Muscatine has asked is: What can we do to help you more? Our answer: Help us to know that you are praying for and with us. Prayer and thanksgiving are powerful tools that are only in the hands of God’s children. We can use them mightily. We are so thankful for congregations like Muscatine who love God so much, work daily to be an example of His grace in what they do, and encourage us and so many others in serving God faithfully!
Check out the pictures here.
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.
May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it. Brothers and sisters, pray for us. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-25