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- Weekend to Remember
I taught VBS the last week of August at the chapel we attend. I was exhausted dealing with fourteen little 6, 7, and 8 year olds–I can barely remember that this was my “life” just over 4 years ago. The children who attended were all truly great kids, but there were a few moments and a few personalities that tested my patience a little bit.
Our class had a few volunteers who were young sailors and Marines who are stationed here for their A-schools, and they were amazing with the boys and the girls and an incredible help to me. The kids climbed all over our volunteers, racing and challenging our sailors and Marines when they played at sports time, showing off their artistic talent during craft times, and trying to impress them with their knowledge during our lessons. It was also great fun for me to be around such helpful and positive young people–a blessing of our work here in Pensacola.
There was one little boy (actually more than one), who though very intelligent and sweet, began to get under my skin just a bit. I was so impressed by his vocabulary and utter cuteness that at first I didn’t notice his neediness. He would screech when the kids cheered and was often demanding and clingy. He didn’t want to participate in the outdoor activities for longer than a few minutes and he quickly finished his crafts and looked for more “creative” things to do. When there was a drawing for prizes he cried when he didn’t win anything and I kindly reminded him that there was a whole room full of children who hadn’t won anything. I found myself saying teacher things like, “Use your words!” and “We aren’t moving until you’re quiet!” or “Dennis–just STOP!” I don’t remember Jesus talking the the little children that way…
Finally on the last night, after the closing ceremony, I asked a friend about Dennis.
It turns out Dennis’s dad has died. His mom has an addiction and she recently spent some time in rehab, so he lived with her parents. When she came home, she made the difficult decision that she couldn’t support Dennis and so his aunt and uncle–his father’s brother-decided they would adopt him. So he just moved across country, became a big brother and he has a new mom and dad. TWO WEEKS AGO.
Imagine. . .
I told Jonathan, one of the young Marine who worked with Dennis, his back story and I could see the lump form in his throat. All week Jonathan had poured into a little boy who has so many empty spaces–he couldn’t be filled.
I wish I had known and I would have loved him more like Jesus loves me.
As I look back at this blog, I realize that I’ve not been much of a blogger. I haven’t written anything since March and I’m rather embarrassed. We have been busy, but undocumented and for that I am sorry. Sometimes I think I have to wait until I have something great to say or an amazing episode to report, but its in the details that we live and I regret not passing those along.
So for a quick recap, here are some events of the past few months:
1. Mike and Steph will be having a baby NEXT month! This dear one is a little girl and Emmah will be her name. We are thrilled for them, they will be great parents, but we are mostly thrilled for ourselves.
2. We moved Kate to Chicago (Forest Park) to join the family and work with Tr*be. They all have other jobs, for now, so they are busy. Plus they volunteer with Young Life in Oak Park River Forest! We are glad they are together and of course we consistently wish they were together closer to us–but I probably shouldn’t go there continually. We miss them like crazy.
1. In May I traveled to Virginia and Pennsylvania and Illinois. Mike, Steph, Kate, and I attended the wedding of their cousin, Danielle in Columbia, Pennsylvania. It was great fun to reunite with family and meet the next generation in person. I visited dear friends in West Chester and enjoyed the time catching up with them too. Then I drove with Kate to Chicago–I must say, I miss car rides with my kids, so I kind of wished she had been moving to California…or Florida.
2. Rick and I attended the Cru North American Staff Conference in Ft. Collins, Co in July. Over 5,000 staff members from all the divisions of Cru gather every other year for encouragement, equipping, and worship. We had MilMin Days, time as a team to focus on our goals and strategies to Win, Build, and Send within a military context.
The time of course was made better by reuniting with old friends and making new ones. Kathy Cleveland, who went to high school and college in Ft. Collins joined us for the week–which made it like an “old home week” for us too! Butch and Sara Alligood, friends from Dover, shared their amazing home with us and told us the funniest stories about happy cows, lame geese, HOAs and 94 year old parents. They both introduced us to NOOSA yoghurt-yogurt will never be the same.
3. We drove last week to Pensacola, Florida–and now we live here. More on that soon!
God’s richest blessings on your Memorial Day weekend. We have so much to be thankful for and so many to thank!
The last weekend in February we spent in Destin Florida at Family Life’s Weekend To Remember (WTR) Star Military Event. Thank you for your prayers; it was a wonderful weekend!
We joined Mike and Linda Montgomery, who are Military Ministry’s liaison to Family Life. The Montgomerys were there to guide on best practices in creating just the right environment that honors and grows the military couples who attend a WTR event.
Included in the Star/Military weekend event is a military breakout session on Saturday afternoon, right before DATE NIGHT. During the session, the Montgomerys lead the group of about 40 couples in some exercises that would be a part of an Art of Marriage event, which is like a WTR, but it uses DVDs and can be adapted for a weekend seminar, an all day event, a weekly small group study. It was wonderful for us to learn how it works and it was great to hear the responses the couples shared!
One of the amazing things my husband did–amazing man that he is–was
to stop at restaurants close to the Sandestin Hilton and ask if they would be able to give a gift certificate to a military couple attending the weekend. We all know I would never be able to pull this off, but for Rick it was pure joy! The generosity of the restaurants blew us away! A few in particular gave over and beyond what
we could have imagined and the couples who won the meals were just thrilled. It was a real gift for us to be able to share in this way of honoring the military. We give many thanks to these wonderful restaurants: Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Tuscany Italian Bistro, and The Melting Pot!
On Sunday morning there was also a special breakfast, hosted by MilitaryMinistry for the active duty couples attending the weekend. The Montgomerys showed us how to plan for the breakfast and then how to do everything in our power to make it run smoothly. It was encouraging
It was great to meet these couples and learn more about how we can come alongside them with resources or a ministry of presence as they deal with stress of military life during a time of war. I still feel that there isn’t much that compares to the automatic connections between military families and when you put believing families together it is such a source of encouragement and wisdom and fun! It is such an honor to work in support of the military family!We’d like to share with you some of the comments the couples gave us regarding the Weekend To Remember:
“Amazing Welcome! Thank you for recognizing that the military family is unique!”
Navy husband deployed 9 times in the past 3 years.
“We made a commitment that divorce is not an option.”
Air Force spouse, deployed 3 times in the past 3 years, including one 8 month deployment.
“Thanks for the military angle. It made the experience more valued and enjoyable.”
Marine flight student
“We were not aware of Military Ministry before this event. We feel that the efforts of this ministry hold so much potential for helping us grow, mend, heal and support military families, that every effort should be made to grow it. We were personally touched and enriched beyond words.”
Army Warrant Officer and wife separated by deployments 48 times in the past 3 years.
“Going out of the way for the military made us feel loved and welcomed and encouraged.” Air Force officer
“I was ready for divorce. I no longer consider it an option!”
Air Force Warrant Officer
“We appreciate the military focus and recommend that you keep doing it!”
Dual career Air Force couple
Represented in Destin were couples from Maxwell AFB, Ft. Rucker, Tyndall AFB, NAS Pensacola, Whiting Field, Hurlburt Field, Ft. Hood, and Columbus AFB. We also learned, while we were at the conference, that a unit from Ft. Bragg had been relocated to Crestview, Florida, just north of Eglin Air Force Base and his church in Crestview had a new large influx of military families.
Another big blessing of this weekend was to be able to work alongside two other ministries. Mike and Arden Patterson, who lead the OCF team in the Pensacola area, brought some OCF couples to the WTR. Also there were Mike and Lisa Conn, who have a ministry called Family Teams for Christ in Montgomery, Alabama. Mike and Lisa minster especially to the pilots at the SOS school and they brought a whole crew down from Maxwell AFB. Mike and Lisa were a true example of servant-leadership; they spent the weekend caring for the children of one couple, whose grandparent sitter was stranded in a snowstorm in a cold place.
While in Destin we were reminded “You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a military member in the Florida panhandle!” so we continue to go forward with plans to move to the area soon. We are trusting God for the wisdom about where to live and we are excited about the many opportunities ahead!
PS: The team from Northstar Church in Panama City were amazing. As Always.
I am writing today for a different reason than normal. My kids
Our adult children..is that an oxymoron or what? Somehow, I can’t get “my adult…” across my lips. If they’re adults, they aren’t mine anymore and I just hate admitting that, even though they don’t live with me, near me, or need me for too much too often.
Erick and Mike keep reminding Rick that he really shouldn’t use the phrase, “the boys” when he refers to them in public. Trust me, I’m still holding babies in my heart, so “boys” doesn’t sound half as bad as what I might say! 🙂
And don’t Rick and I still look like this:
Anyway, these guys..
About 18 months ago they read The Hole in our Gospel by Richard Stearns, the president of World Vision and shortly thereafter they watched a movie called 58:the film (http://www.live58.org/watch-the-film). Their hearts broke because more than 26,000 children die a day from problems related to poverty and they became convicted of God’s love and concern for the poor and more so of their need to do something.
Free those who are wrongly imprisoned;
lighten the burden of those who work for you.
Let the oppressed go free,
and remove the chains that bind people.
7 Share your food with the hungry,
and give shelter to the homeless.
Give clothes to those who need them,
and do not hide from relatives who need your help. Isaiah 58:6-12
TR*BE is the idea they began to develop as we gathered for Christmas that year, even more under the conviction of the Spirit. It is based on the abundance of clothing in their closets and finding a way to use what their generation has to give to needs that touch the heart of God.
They would like to start a movement that blesses.
They have submitted their company to a crowd-funding website called indiegogo to raise the initial funds for this venture. This seed money will enable them to maintain and modify their website, create warehouse and staffing operations, and develop the product line. They have 60 days and they are praying their vision catches on!
Please check it out!
I am a mom of adults!
The Weekend to Remember Buy One Get One Sale has been extended through midnight Monday–January 28th. If you register for any event, any where in the country, you will pay half price for the registration fee for a Weekend to Remember!
We will be attending the WTR event in Destin, Florida, which is a STAR event, as Family Life is coming alongside Military Ministry to encourage and prepare military couples!
Here’s the link, click on it, find your DESTINation (even if you can’t make the Destin, FL WTR) and register. You will not regret the time you invest in your marriage and your family and it is fun too!
<a href=”http://shop.familylife.com/events_1.aspx?categoryid=97&groupName=Hammestead”>Register for a Weekend To Remember</a>