On Friday afternoon at 2 pm, the mid-term graduation ceremonies were held for California Baptist University in Riverside. Our niece Jennifer (Roger and Julie's oldest) walked the stage and received her diploma. We were so proud of her.
Jennifer at CBU graduation ceremony.
Julie, Daniel, Roger, Melissa, Jennifer
Immediately after the graduation, we took off for Bakersfield in the rain. It has rained for several days straight, but luckily it has been a slow steady rain and not the torrential type. Alden rode with us, as we were heading for a Langdon family Christmas get-together at the home of Sondra's brother (Danny Langdon) and his family. Friday night, Sondra and I stayed at the Sheraton in Bakersfield, having contracted a special low price through the internet.
On Saturday, we ate and laughed and played table games and spent time chatting and taking pictures with all the Langdon side who could make it. There was one spouse and several adult children who could not make it because of work, distance and time. But, it was a very wonderful and special day for all who were there.
Seated: Danny Langdon, Alice Langdon Kenney, Sondra Langdon Greenwalt, Alden Langdon
Sitting on floor: Sharon Langdon Deffense
Getting food and then sitting down to eat a great meal together.
The exchange of gifts was fun, and here is Evan opening his gift first.
There was time for table games and hilarious laughter.
Alden Langdon. His two adult kids live in Idaho now.
Sondra and Galen.
Evan and Callie.
Shawn, Crystal and Bailey.
Sharon, Sarah and Michel Deffense.
(Their other three adult children could not make the trip.)
Alice and her two boys, daughter-in-law and three grandkids total.
(Alice's husband Tobey had to work all day.)
Danny and Marci and their two kids (plus a dog and daughter's boyfriend).
Alden, Sondra and I left a little after 10 pm, heading back home so I could be back to preach today (Sunday). We arrived home sometime after 1 am (still raining) but made it safe and sound through it all.
This morning's worship hour was filled with testimonies as I host a "Happy Dollar Testimony Time" every once in a while, and we did exactly that today. People have such moving stories to share about God's goodness, and it is a treat for the whole congregation to hear from some who seem to be so quiet most of the time. I preached on the journey of Joseph and Mary, as they had to do the right thing in obedience to the laws of the land concerning taxation and census. I spoke of what the journey of life holds, if we allow God to open doors of ministry opportunity. I closed with the need for us all to accept the miracle of God's love given to us in Jesus Christ, just as the shepherds did as they heard the chorus of angels and then went to see that great miracle first-hand. We too must experience it first-hand.
Following the service, several of us quietly took food baskets and gifts to some families in the church who needed a special touch of God's love at this time of year. What a huge blessing we received as we saw tears of joy and thanks as we delivered these gifts.