Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! and a great big halleluljah that God loves you and me SO much that He sent His son to die for us. What a gift! And I thank Him every day for this gift, for loving me, and for giving us the gift of your friendship in this journey of life. Bless you, each and every one! We celebrated a glorious Easter, beginning with a 6a.m. sunrise service held in the chapel, led by our Worship Team. I wish each one of you could hear them - what an incredible ministry they have, and so many gifts. While the service was indoors, and we didn't really know when the sun came up, the symbolism was great--the chapel in the dark with a light on the table which contained a most meaningful arrangement of various colored flowers, the single Christ candle, and the rock--and the praise team in the back singing a song that told the story of that Easter morning..and as they progressed through the song, the lights became brighter, and the team processed up the center aisle--I loved it!!! Following a continental breakfast in the gym, the next 3 services took place in the sanctuary-the middle two with the Chancel Choir, and the last service once again with the Praise Team, but an appropriate worship for that hour of the day, rather than sunrise. Wow! I felt totally churched and so filled. Can there be anything better than getting to sing "Because He Lives" 3 times in one morning, and being allowed to join in the singing of the "Hallelujah Chorus" 2 times? AND hearing a strong word from the Lord through the preacher! I hope your Easter was a blessing to you as well. Carla came down Sunday afternoon after she finished at Pine Ridge Pres, and we had a good 24 hours together--its been so neat to be this close, and we are continuing to take advantage of this opportunity, for it will soon come to an end. VACATION begins tomorrow! We look forward to an overnight visit with Jerry's Aunt Timmy and cousin Betty in Rogers AR; on to visit our Midland friends, Jim and Norma Webb, who have a home on Lake Ouachita outside of Hot Springs. We will be joined by Glenn and Louan Rogers...and we will not lack for conversation or laughter--I am eager to once again be sitting on their deck looking at the beautiful Arkansas scenery and just totally relaxing. We leave them on Tuesday and go to another friend's home, this time on Lake Hamilton. Kelly was a high school student in our first parish, and now is a physician in Hot Springs--he and Jerry have some fishing planned, I know! On Wednesday, we drive to Branson to meet Carla for two nights, celebrate her birthday, see a show or two, visit Silver Dollar City, and head home on the 28th. This morning we were blessed by attending the Wichita City-wide Prayer Breakfast - a sold-out event, where we heard Jim Shaus (Athletic Director at Wichita State) give his testimony; heard our mayor, Carlos Mayans, give his testimony of coming to this country as a child, being separated from his siblings and placed in a variety of foster homes, and knowing Jesus as his personal Saviour; and the treat of listening to Micheal Flaherty, co-founder and president of Walden Media, who feels called to serve Christ through his vision of fusing entertainment and education in an attempt to get people of all ages to read--and just co-produced the Narnia movie (and two earlier ones, "Because of Winn-Dixie" and "Holes.") It was a dynamic way to start this glorious day. Love and hugs to all of you. We'll be back in touch after our vacation. Mary
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