Monday, April 27, 2009

Pine Ridge connections

Pine Ridge Presbyterian Church north of the Missouri River in Kansas City is a spirit-filled mission-involved congregation that we are very fond of. Carla has been on the staff almost nine years now (and part-time for three years before she went to seminary). The church is pastored by Jim Gordon, shown here with his wife Marcia. Our family involvement goes w-a-y-back, when Jim was a youth in our church in Marshall MO, and his Dad chaired the PNC that called Jerry to Covenant Church in 1972. Jim received his seminary training at McCormick Theological Seminary (as did both of us), and Jerry married them about 23 years ago. This week Jim's sermon touched on the Living Water mission trip he had just attended, learning to build fresh water systems in 3rd world countries--a mission dear to our hearts since Midland First has dug 23 water wells in our Uganda mission. The new sanctuary at PRPC is beautiful, and my favorite part is baptismal font, which is located in the middle of the center aisle near the front. It constantly bubbles gently. The bowl is filled with glass pebbles, and when someone is baptized, they are given one of those...or, when baptismal vows are renewed, the person can take one as a reminder of our life in Christ. The baptismal font is also a memorial to Jim & Marcia's fathers. This is Jason Brock, his wife and two precious sons, who are new members of PRPC. Jason and his wife were born and raised in Marshall MO, where we lived for 13 years...and Jason was born two years after Jerry began his ministry at that church, so we did literally watch him grow up. This, my friends, is one of those joys of ministry that Jerry and I are always awed about--seeing little ones raised in the church, crossing paths with them years later, and being able to rejoice in what God is doing in their lives. Jason's Dad was the principal of Marshall High School for many years, fortunately including the years our daughters attended MHS. Now meet Marve & Joyce Hohensee...we don't go quite as far back with them as we do with Jim Gordon and Jason Brock...but the Hohensees were members of our church in Enid OK, moving to Enid at almost exactly the same time we did, and leaving Enid for KC when we moved to Midland, so we have been friends for almost 25 years. When Marve was transferred to the KC area, I mentioned PRPC as a possible church home for them, if they settled in that north part of town. The first time they went out with a realtor to look at homes--guess what was lying on the front seat of her car? A bulletin from Sunday worship at Pine Ridge PC...and listed in the bulletin as part of the staff was our daughter's name. Marve told the realtor that Carla was the daughter of their former pastor in Enid...and now you know the rest of the story. It is such a joy to see them whenever we visit KC. And there are others - remember in a previous blog I mentioned Jerry's cousins in KC...we Worshipped with Jane on both Sundays I was year the youth mission trip helped with a "Faces of Children" Conference in Washington DC, sponsored by FPC Midland...and another year, their youth came to Midland on their mission trip and worked with Midland Habitat for the week, staying at our church and being royally treated by FPC members. (One of the advisors told me he expected to lose weight on that mission trip, since there would be lots of outdoor manual labor, but every time he turned around, another FPC member was showing up with "goodies" for their break times on the job site...and how they enjoyed the hospitality of some of our members with the opening of their swimming pool for them each day, and good Texas barbeque one lunch.) Those youngsters are all away in college now but the adult sponsors remember those trips vividly. And so the Family of God connects and reconnects as we continue on our journey. Praise Him!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Happy Birthday, Carla!

To make Carla's 42nd birthday very special, we did something she has been wanting to do ever since the Courtyard Marriott bought her former apartment building, the Park Lane Apartments, and turned it into a hotel. We rented the King Suite, which we thought would be her entire former apartment, but turned out to be only half of the apartment and invited friends to stop by to celebrate. It was a great evening...the view of the Mill Creek Park across the street is still fantastic, and she and her friends shared lots of memories of 1990-1993, when she called that home. Carla's apartment is on the top floor right, the one with the balcony (which is no longer accessible but only for looks, but in the old days served as a usable balcony overlooking KC!) Since it is on the National Historic Register, the exterior has been totally preserved, and much of the inside including the tiny "icebox" doors next to each apartment for use of the iceman and milkman. The Courtyard Marriott may think that THEY are the pride of the plaza, but we know better, don't we? Congratulations, Carla, on your birthday and for being the very special person that you are. We are so proud of you! To view an album of pics from Carla's orange birthday party, click on this link (or cut and paste), click "view slideshow", and on the bottom click on "show captions" icon.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Everything's Up to Date in Kansas City

Its spring in Kansas City..and what better to do than fly kites, right? So Carla's high school friend, Michelle, and her two daughters from Independence KS joined us for the Flights of Fancy Kite Festival...these youngsters are absolutely delightful, and the four of us had a marvelous time picnicking on the lawn, watching all kinds and sizes of kites flying, getting faces painted, and seeing many other families enjoying themselves as well. What fun it is to see old friends..thats friends of long-standing, NOT friends who are aged, right? Gretchen, Nancy and I met in 1972 and shared family life in Marshall MO for a number of years. Nancy still lives there, while Gretchen lives in Pella IA, and Carla's home was a great place to meet for much visiting and eating and laughter. How did Carla grow up from a little girl to adulthood when none of the rest of us have changed? Jerry has some very special cousins who live in Kansas City, folks whom we always enjoy seeing when we are here. Tonight Carla and I met Jim & Jane for dinner at The Blue Moose..a delicious meal but even better was the conversation. Jim's Dad was a real favorite of Jerry's, and Jerry tells lots of stories from Lynn...and I know that Jim has inherited his Dad's story-telling ability! The evening passed all too quickly...and while Jim enjoyed these three women, I know he missed Jerry's presence. Tomorrow Carla and I are going to celebrate her birthday..and we will tell you more about that next stay tuned.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

He is risen indeed!

What a glorious resurrection morning at First Pres, Midland! Jo and Scott came from San Antonio for a couple of days, amidst weekend weather that ranged from strong winds to beautiful sunshine to large hail...quite eventful. All our children are devoted to our dear friends, Ray & Jane, so it was very special to spend a morning with them over breakfast at Manor Park. These remarkable folks are over 90 years young, and an inspiration to all of us. My special moment came with a hug from David Bingham of Edmond OK...a college student at OSU, whose Dad was chair of the Pastor Nominating Committee in 1992 when Jerry was called to Midland. Thus David and his brother became our first "surrogate grandchildren". Its been a special joy to watch David grow and mature, and follow our Lord. In the summers, David has been working at Camp Barnabus in southwest Missouri, a camp for special needs kids. Camp Barnabus is located on the campus of what used to be the Presbyterian church camp where Jerry went to camp as a youngster...small world, isn't it? We visited David there a couple of summers ago and Jerry could share that with David. Our Easter worship closed, as is our tradition at FPC, with anyone in the congregation who wished to sing, joining the sanctuary choir in the choir loft as we praised our risen Lord with the "Hallelujah Chorus". Amen and amen.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Birthday are such fun--even if we are elderly!

The first part of April means birthdays..and it seems the older we get, the more we manage to stretch it out! We celebrated our birthdays by going to El Paso to spend a couple of days with our cousins, Bill & Wayne...and were treated to a magnificent birthday dinner at The Edge of Texas in EP - I do highly recommend it, if you find yourself in El Paso. It was also special to spend time with our EP friends, Lynn and Judy. The three of us who were 70 years old had our picture taken together to commemorate the event..that would be Mary, Jerry and Judy! Jerry was attending a Faces of Children Prayer Meeting at FPC and was delighted to see his friend, Getanah and his wife. They are from Ethiopia, but sought asylum in the US after Getanah was persecuted for his Christian faith, and they now have a prayer ministry in the Washington DC area called "Watch and Pray". Jerry asked Mrs. Getanah if she would like a cup of coffee. She replied that she would, so Jerry got up to get it for her when she said something to her husband. Jerry turned and asked Getanah what she had said. Getanah told Jerry his wife had said "it is not right for the elderly to wait on me." So happy birthday...and we are glad to be elderly...we are just grateful to be alive. We appreciated all your cards, calls and Facebook remembrances.

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