This past Sunday, we hosted a singing group from California Baptist University, a small group called JOY. There were eight singers (four young men, four young women) and a pianist. Naturally, all are CBU students. They were just wonderful, in their singing and their testimonies and their personalities. They really blessed us with their concert. One of the young men in the group had his fiancee in attendance, and she is the daughter of missionaries in Australia. I mentioned that one of my pastor friends (John Baynes) is a missionary there as well. And, yes, she said she knows John and his wife Carmen who are working with the Aboriginal tribes. Small world indeed!
We took the group to lunch following the worship hour, going to a little "hole in the wall" Mexican restaurant named Dos Pablos. It was good food and great fellowship. Several friends joined us as well for this lunch gathering -- Kaye L. Freeman and his wife, as well as Greg Freeman and his shop employee Steve -- as they had come to our church especially for this special concert at our church. And, of course, my brother David and Sondra's brother Alden were with us. I think we had almost 20 individuals descend on that little restaurant for lunch! Did I tell you we had little granddaughter Bailey with us too?
During the worship service, Jennifer (my niece -- Roger's daughter), shared her testimony of learning and preparation back at the International Mission Board headquarters for a two-year mission trip to South Asia. Because of safety precautions in other countries where missionaries are not allowed to be free and open, she cannot divulge her place of service except to immediate family. She has a great love for the Lord and expressed it well to our congregation, as we are a part of her Prayer Team as she serves overseas.
As a bonus in our time of worship, we were able to share that one of our members won a prize worth at least $700 at the "Price Is Right" taping last week. Lyn Young was one of 18 individuals who went on a church outing down to Hollywood and was blessed to win! What excitement!
On Monday, I served as the officiant at the funeral of one of our precious church members, Bev Grillo. She was the mother of Sharon Harrison, one of my wife's best friends for almost 40 years! Bev began to attend our church, just after we started it in 2001. Sharon brought her to our church because we were close by Bev's house. Bev had hardly ever attended church in her life before she came to The Vision Plus Church. After some weeks, I spoke with her and led her to saving faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. If our church has been there just for Bev, it has been worth it! What peace and joy filled the chapel during the memorial service, even through the sorrow and sadness of the occasion.
On Wednesday, Sondra went with me to Kaiser Hospital Riverside to visit Jen, a young lady (early 30s in age) who has been diagnosed with both lupus and leukemia. She is the girlfriend of one of Sharon Harrison's sons (Chad). She was in good spirits and has dealt with health issues for many years, even at her young age.
After that, we drove down to San Clemente to the home of a very dear friend, Rilla Hubbard. Rilla is the mom of our church secretary and volunteer youth worker (Cindy Guerin). Rilla came to our church in the early days of our church start in 2001 also. She had come to visit her daughter (and son-in-law and grandchildren) for the weekend, and she wanted to find a church for them to attend. We can still vividly remember her coming and having us pray for Cindy and family. Cindy and her four girls began to attend, get involved and several were baptized after salvation. Sadly, Rilla is has been diagnosed with breathing problems that will not go away, and hospice has been called in for her last days. God has been so good to her for many years, and she says she is perfectly content when the Lord will take her to home in Heaven!
We were blessed to be in her presence on Wednesday afternoon.