Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sadness and Gladness

These past days have been an emotional roller coaster ride for us.

On Thursday evening, I received a call that our good friend and church member Betty Guerin passed away.  She had battled cancer for some time, had lived a full life and indicated that she was ready to go home to heaven.  It has been very tough on the family physically because of the care-giving needed at home, even though hospice care came every so often.  The family is grieving but relieved that the pain is over and Betty is fully at peace with the Lord.

On Friday, Sondra and I spent the day taking food to the family for each meal of the day -- McDonald's breakfast, In-N-Out Burgers for lunch and a fried chicken dinner for the evening meal.  It was important to spend time, effort and love to comfort them in this time.

On Saturday, I spent the majority of the day taking care of church planning and errands.  On Saturday evening, our local Southern Baptist Association held a Ministsry and Mission Fair at a nearby church in Fontana (actually the church where my brother Roger is a pastor).  Our church (The Vision Plus Church) had been asked to specifically set up a table to share our ministry of touching lives at Fairmount Park by feeding the homeless each Thursday afternoon.  It was a wonderful time of ministry sharing and seeing some good friends from the association that I had not seen in some time.

Even though it was good to get an extra hour's sleep because of the time change, I got up early this morning (Sunday) to prepare for several things.  I even got an early phone call (at 5:30 am) from a church member who had just recently returned from his mission trip to China.  He gave his testimony in the worship service today and it was a Spirit-filled time of seeing what God was doing overseas.  This man and wife team (Ken and Beifei) had bought gifts for every single church member -- special key chains with a map of China on the fob with Chinese character writing that says "Pray for China."  The church was presented a very lovely and expensive gift of hand-made silkwork of a Panda in a frame.  In addition, Sondra and I were presented with a special gift of a hand-made china plate with colored flowers.

I preached on our mission effort as Christians to tell our world about the Jesus that saved us and has given us new life.  We had several visitors this morning, and one of them was a 13-year boy Angel.  After church, his friend brought him to me specifically and said, "Angel wants to get baptized."  I sat down with Angel, presented the simple plan of salvation and life in Christ, and Angel prayed to receive Jesus as Lord and Savior.  It was just a fantastic end to our morning of worship!

After church, I came home to news that my sister Marti had been admitted to the hospital early this morning (about 4am) due to neck and chest pains.  The doctors ran many tests and found no sign of heart attack, but they want her to see a cardiologist tomorrow to find the problem that is definitely showing itself as a heart issue.  I talked to my brother-in-law Bill late this evening and she was sent home around 4pm and was sleeping.  We will pray for her in these days that this health problem will be resolved.

This afternoon, we decided to take a quick trip to Oak Glen to the apple farms there.  It's near Yucaipa, about 30 minutes away from us.  There were four of us -- me, Sondra, David and Alden -- that went on this spontaneous outing.  We went to several of the apple farms to eat apple and cherry turnovers, taste fresh apple cider, drink coffee and hot chocolate and then bring a five-pound apple pie home!  It was a special trip and we had great fun.

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