Thursday, December 29, 2016

Happy New Year!  Although our Kansas trip was cut short in October (due to a new grand baby 5 weeks early) we still want to tell you all about it even if it’s almost January! 
We love Kansas! It’s the breadbasket of America and people are salt of the earth and genuine!  We were reminded about that early on this adventure as we were driving down Hwy 83 to get to Garden City and our good friend Max Meschberger was literally waiting for us on the side of the road –he flashed his emergency lights and of course we literally jump out of our car and have a reunion right there on the side of the highway! 

It was a fun packed weekend—high school football, catching up with old Young Life kids (who now have families of their own), old neighbors, YL committee folks, and dear friends…our friend Lucky Luckett (and Karen too) made some mean red beans and rice—we loved that our shared meal it not only filled our belly but our souls as well.  

The high light of this trip for me though was an unexpected reunion with Raymond Urrutia and his sweet wife Anna who were some of our YL kids.  After reminiscing about YL camp and their high school days I returned to my seat to watch the playoff high school football game that we were attending.   A random story popped into my head about Raymond (that had to be God at my age) so I nervously went back to remind Raymond of his high school playoff game some 25 years prior.  You see, Raymond was a great running back and was hurt during this game and would probably be out with a knee injury.   Gail, (another Young lifer) and I went to the locker room to pray for him. Raymond was on the training table with a bag of ice on his knee and in pain.   We gingerly asked him if he believed that Jesus could heal him and could continue to play (he wasn’t even involved in YL yet).  He shrugged and wasn’t too impressed but said “I guess so”—so we prayed and Raymond miraculously played the rest of the game.  When I shared this story  (ironically Raymond’s son was playing at this playoff game) immediately he teared up and said I totally forgot about that.  I said Raymond, the Lord cared about you then and he continues to care about you now. He wanted me to come and remind you that many years ago He was faithful and that He continues to love and watch over you and is still faithful. 

What a great reminder that many times in our lives we need to remember what God has done for us.  For me, besides remembering God’s faithfulness and love in my own life, He wants us to remind each other!  I was so humbled to have had that opportunity to remind Raymond.

We will never forget the relationships, love, struggles, and happiness we had while living in Garden City all those years ago.  It’s so humbling to know that we had the privilege to be part of many high schooner’s lives and we pray that they remember Jesus!
Thanks to all of you who believe in Joe and I.  Thanks for your continued support for us prayerful, friendship wise, and financially.  Our desire is to go back (and forward) to remind and tell those about the God of the universe who never forgets. 

                                            Raymond, Anna and Joe at GC Football Game
                     Lucky Luckett, Joe, and Max Meschberger getting ready to eat Red Beans and Rice
                                        Darlene and Debbie Foltz (our neighbor in Garden City)
                                 Darlene and Joanna McGraw Schmeeckle---a Young Lifer (camper, work crew kid, and dear friend)

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Greality with the grand kids!

Last Sunday, after a wonderful time in Garden City, we made our way to Wichita to see some more friends......SCREEETCH!!!!!  I guess it was really more like WOAH!  Like with a trusty Dodge City steed.
We got a call from our daughter in Greeley, she is 8 months pregnant and having some flu like symptoms, yuck. 
Darlene encouraged her to go see the folks at the hospital to get checked out.  Thankfully as they took her vitals they found some issues, high blood pressure, preeclampsia and the baby had hellp.  Neither being good, and an impending delivery, we quickly headed for Colorado and straight to Greeley.  I think we covered a little over 400 miles in about 5.5 hours, we were "bookin" it as they say.

Conner Joseph was born at 1:30 am on the 31st!  He is amazing and weighs in at 5lbs, 2 oz.  He is 5 weeks premature and is in the NICU here in Greeley.  The day after his arrival, Lindsay was transported to St. Luke's in Denver to be under the care of a liver specialist. ( I'm sure there is a fancier name)  They are working on getting her back to liver health and hope to be reunited with little Conner by the end of this week.

Darlene and I, in the mean time are doing life with a 4 and 2 year old, including Halloween, preschool, well baby visit and of course doing bonding time with Conner a couple times a day.  Darlene in the morning and I in the evening.  How amazing to do skin to skin time with him, praying for his little body to be strong and healthy,  I have also been asking the Lord for amazing bravery and courage with a great bond with papa and above all a greater bond with Jesus during the course of his life.  I mean, who gets to sit, hold and pray for your 2 day old grand baby for an hour?  It is forcing me to slow my roll and dial into the moment, for this I am very grateful.

The out pouring of prayer and support have been very encouraging and helpful to Darlene and our family.  We shared with folks as we drove on Sunday, it is very sweet to know of our community and the prayers ascending to the Lord from Oregon to Romania and beyond!  If you are reading this, please know that we consider you a beautiful part of His community and we are a direct beneficiary.  In short...Thanks!
I thought you might enjoy a family pic of Jimmy, Lindsay and family, Conner is present, just not seen but by the Father :)


PS  More to come about our visit to Garden City, con fotos ( with photos)

Friday, October 28, 2016

Road Trip!

For the past few years, Darlene and I have been dreaming and thinking about some road trips.  We are starting that adventure today!
We sat down at a water side cafe on Lake Tahoe, just a few days before the forth of July and started a mondo list of Young Life club kids that we wanted to go and see.  We dreamed about having an old truck or 4x4 to pull a vintage camper.  That way we could just pull up and plug in, physically, relationally, emotionally and spiritually.  We felt like this would be a fun and impactfull way to see the country and old friends.

Today we are leaving for Garden City, KS.  We ministered there from the late eighties into the mid nineties.  We really loved our time and friendships in Garden, we also felt like it was possibly the most fruitful times of ministry in our lives to date.

Let me just jump in here and insert what I mean by fruitful.  I am not just talking about sheer number, I think this is a misnomer about ministry and fruitfulness.  I know there were several times in Garden, when the numbers were high, but our impact was low or minimal.  We had mistakenly focused on the wrong things, this led to a seasonal downturn in impact.  Fruitfulness should be measured by the fruit, first by the quality of the fruit. i.e. love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.  Let me say, that none of the above mentioned from Galatians 2, have anything to do with numbers, also you have to get up close and personal to see if these fruits are evident in a person's life or ministry.  Second, I believe a fruitful ministry has on-going reproduction potential.  You may not see the increase right away, all seeds have different gestation periods.  But, the widespread potential must be there, otherwise you have sterile fruit.  Much like the plastic fruit that your grandma had on her kitchen table.  Looks good from afar, but has no aroma or reproductive ability at all.

Our time in Garden, did produce good, reproductive fruit, for which we are really grateful.  I really don't think we had much to do with it, other than for the most part we tried to pay attention to the "fruit" in our own lives.  Thanks be to God who issues grace sufficiently for our feeble attempts to abide in Him.

I will keep you posted as to how our travels and visits unfold over the next few days.