Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Sad News and Glad News

It has been a whirlwind weekend.

Last Friday afternoon, I received a phone call from my brother David who is incarcerated at the federal facility in Big Spring, Texas.  He was to have had a parole hearing on Monday, October 5.  It was postponed indefinitely for procedural reasons.  Apparently, the board did not have David's paperwork from California.  It is frustrating and aggravating, to say the least.  I will continue to pursue the assistance from my local Congressman Joe Baca.

Then, Friday evening I got a call from my brother Noel.  It was an emotional time of letting us know that his mother-in-law, Berthena Hill, had suffered an aneurysm that burst that evening and was not expected to live.  She passed away three hours later.  Berthena and her husband, Bailey, have been such special friends to me and Sondra.  They have treated us as one of their own.  Bailey was a deacon at my dad's church in Wasco, California, and they moved to Nixa, Missouri, in retirement.  Bailey, whenever we talk long-distance and he is ending the phone conversation, always says the same wonderful words, "Galen, have I told you how much I love you guys!"  My goodness, that touches the heart deeply.  And, Berthena was so loving and caring.  They have been to our home and have stayed with us several times.  We have stayed at their house in Missouri numerous times as well.  Berthena was such a great woman of faith, steadfastness and hospitality whenever we visited back there.

In my comments at my church on Sunday, I mentioned that when we die no one cares what we have or what part of town we live in.  Our friends will speak of how we loved them and cared for them in their times of need.  Berthena will be remembered fondly for her laughter and sparkle and unending love.

On this past Saturday afternoon after learning of Berthena's passing, I took Sondra to the airport to fly to Oklahoma City, where she picked up a rental car and then drove up to be with Noel and Janice.  Janice and Sondra have been special sisters-in-law for the many years they have been part of the Greenwalt clan.  I was glad Sondra could go and be there.

I stayed behind for my church ministry, but also for my weekly care during the day of my grand-daughter, with finances being a small of the equation.  On this past Sunday afternoon, our little church began a mission church in Chatsworth, a community in Los Angeles county known for its progressive and inviting nature to the porn industry.  We held the first worship service there in the Chamber of Commerce board room.  Such a huge population of unchurched people.  One of the men who has felt called to ministry and has been ordained in the last couple of years has taken the challenge and call to serve and build a congregation.  His name is George Nelson.  Pray for Pastor George as he looks eagerly and with excitement in this new venture of faith and obedience.  There were 18 in that first worship service.

My niece, Jennifer (Roger's oldest daughter), is a fourth-year student at California Baptist University in nearby Riverside.  She came Sunday and led the Praise and Worship singing time with her electronic keyboard at our church, and then she accompanied me (bringing a friend to help on guitar) to Chatsworth that evening to lead there as well.

Yesterday, a lady in the church called and said he had cooked a roast with potatoes for me, as she knew I would be "batching" it this week with Sondra gone.  Her husband met me at the church last night and I had a warm home-cooked meal to take home!  What a treat.  People are still loving and considerate in this day and age of selfishness and inward focus.  God is still at work, wanting to bring Revival In Our Time (RIOT).

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