We tried to get a good night's sleep last Thursday night before leaving on Friday morning on our trip out of town. We got up Friday, put things together and drove to San Francisco. Got there close to 4 pm that afternoon. Sondra and I stopped at Fisherman's Wharf for a short walk and then got a snack (shared a bowl of clam chowder and an order of fish and chips) in the cold drizzly weather of the Bay Area.
We went over to the East Bay side to stay with our friends in San Pablo - Don and Judy Nason. They have been wonderful friends through all these years since the early 1970s. Judy is confined to her electric wheelchair but she gets around with ease. We just talked and ate and relaxed for a couple of days there. We felt a little nostalgia as we went to Nation's hamburger joint, where they have the best hamburgers and homemade pies. On Saturday morning, we went over to Flippy's, a breakfast place in Rodeo (town where I pastored in years gone by) that has old-fashioned waffles. By that I mean the waffles with little dimples, not the big Belgian style dimples!
Don and Judy have a son named Charlie, who is the Pastoral Intern at the Berkeley Chines Baptist Church (English-language service). We went to his church and heard him preach. He has finished his Masters degree and does much study in his sermon preparation, which was evident. We very much enjoyed the worship service and meeting various individuals in the congregation. During the service, a lady gave her testimony of faith and patience as her father had just suffered a stroke, while during this time both she and a sister are undergoing cancer treatments. She was just a portrait of love and humility as she lives and serves a great God.
On Sunday afternoon, all the Nason kids (Charlie, Sandy and Eddy) were there with spouses and children. A turkey dinner had been planned and fixed (turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, corn, lima beans, cranberry sauce and rolls) with three different pies (lemon meringue, chocolate and custard). There were 16 of us sitting around two long tables in the living room for lunch. Awesome time of family and catching up on the latest news of each sibling.
We left that evening, going to Fresno and checking into the Holiday Inn downtown. The Pastors' Conference was going to be held a few miles away in Clovis on Monday evening and Tuesday morning. Sondra did some shopping Monday morning and we attended all the sessions of the conference. Our friend from down here, Darrell Smith, came up and attended also, so we were able to spend time with him.
The messages were good, but I was disappointed no pastors from out of state were invited. I think it was due to financial issues for the conference. We really enjoyed Dr. Jeff Iorg, the president of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary (my alma mater) in the Bay Area. He has been a pastor and denominational leader previous to the presidency of our seminary. He is a gifted preacher, and we found out he has been the chaplain for the San Francisco Giants baseball team for the last five years! He jokingly said he cannot take credit for the team going to the World Series this year.
We drove home yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon safe and sound.