A time for everything… If you get a chance, read Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 to familiarize yourself with the whole passage. It will be easy to see where to apply “a time”, to many things going on in our world today, the hard and the good times. For us, in this season, it has been the uncomfortable realization of the “time to die”. Many of you would have your own experiences with death, and the sorrow that relates to it. Early, in our first fews years of ministry here in San Diego, we lost our ministry partner, and mentor Mark McCoy. Then, a year later, we lost another dear co-leader, Sherman, in our church who was also a great supporter and encourager in our marriage and ministry – including a father figure to Wayne. I remember Carol’s dad telling us that we were much too young to be having friends pass away. Fast forward 20+ years and there have been many other co-laborers, friends and family who have passed on. Naturally, this includes our current season, where losing Carol’s father would have been more than enough to handle. Sadly, however, we just returned from a celebration of life this weekend, of another fallen ministry partner. Our dear friend Larry Grizz Brown, an elder in the Native American community, passed suddenly and unexpectedly. We had just spent time with Grizz and his new bride, our friend Rita Bear Gray, in Georgia, and again in Pennsylvania. Another dear brother in our worship community, Dan Simonek, passed recently as well, and we will gather to remember him at the end of the month. They all are in heaven, which is amazing and truly wonderful for them!! It’s just a little hard to stay on that reflection for those of us left behind.
I know this letter may seem like a downer, but we wanted to be honest about where we are at in this season of our lives. Perhaps you are there right now as well, or have been there at one point in your life. We live in a very difficult time – standing for our families, our nation, the world. We know to keep our eyes on Jesus. We know His promises. We know that so many things we endure, would be hopeless without Him. The Bible also says in 1st Thessalonians (4:13) to ‘not mourn as those whom have no hope.’ Our hope is in the Lord!!! But we do need one another, to be reminded of that. And yes, we all endure these hardships and sorrowful times, so that hopefully we grasp a deeper empathy and compassion for others in their day to day struggles. Ultimately that has always been my (Wayne) goal – to use the areas in my life that are the weakest—or yet to be healed—to motivate my compassion for others. Work for our salvation? NO. But work OUT our grief, trust and salvation? YES! These life setbacks, discouragements, and shortcomings make us stronger. His strength is made perfect in our weaknesses. (2nd Corinthians 12:9). His grace is sufficient. I trust these promises to give me hope. I hope you do too! Yes there is a time to mourn. But there comes a time to dance as well! (Ecclesiastes 3:4) Always remember that, dear friends.
On the ministry front…
We are in the process of returning to our regular routine and schedule in Mexico. Sorting out the usual customs issues. However we have made some strategic trips across the border. We attended the wedding of a young woman we have known since she was a small girl! Our ministry partner Vicente’s daughter got married. Through a VOB sponsor, this young woman has received saxophone lessons for years, a skill we hope will help her take a small step higher in economic advancement in her life and culture. Her instructor, a sax player in the Tijuana symphony, played her bridal march at the wedding, and joyously celebrated with us.
Also, we were able to deliver a large amount of medical supplies to a missionary nurse about 2 hours south of the border. This missionary nurse works with disabled kids and their families in Maneadero, a very poor area south of Ensenada Mexico. Our hope was to share the many things we collected while caring for Carol’s dad. This dedicated nurse has alread y written us, and spoken of how deeply appreciated, in particular, a donated pair of special soft booties were to a 12 year old boy who is bed ridden with pressure sores on his legs and ankles. These booties are a resource they would have not had available to them otherwise. It is a real blessing for us to be able to provide relief for another, through resources from a difficult experience of our own. Lastly, though we did not get to attend her graduation which happened while we were away, another young woman (whom we have also watched grow up) who VOB has sponsored with your help, graduated from nursing school! We are so excited for Angie’s future! Your partnership investment is one of the highlights of what we get to do. Making a difference for one who can make a difference for many.