Friday, February 24, 2006
There's No Place Like Home!
The trip to Michigan went great. Not just great, but actually above and beyond all I could have asked or imagined. My church home was much different than I left it 7 years ago, and that is a good thing. That is a VERY good thing.
The church I left way back when was a church still in a healing process. We had suffered through a pretty ugly split, and everyone who was left was just kind of stuck in a funk. Praise God that He has reconciled some members who had left back to the body at Livonia, and the members that never left are thriving under the leadership and guidance of the sheperds and the minister, Larry Stephens. Larry brought a peaceful, thoughtful, and wise spirit to the church that it desperately needed. He is a stabilizing force, a true man of peace, and I am thankful for his friendship and that of his wife, Diane. I can only pray that April and I can be a little bit like them when we reach their age!
I was well received by everyone at Livonia. There were some sweet reunions and, thankfully, some new introductions. The preaching went well, and I also had the chance to teach the young adults class. Sunday evening I was at the home of Bob and Teri Carris, lifelong friends of my family and parents to my great friend Rob Carris (who is gonna be a daddy soon!). Bob and Teri are amazing people and they are very supportive and helpful in trying to get us to Afrcia. Bob specifically has a vision for missions and how Livonia can be involved, involvement that hpefully can increase in the next few years as they grow. I was able to spend time with John Williams and Eric Sims as well (JK and E-Money back in the day), which was awesome. They are both older than me and were actually friends with my older brother Chad when were were growing up. For a while there, John WAS my older brother, mentoring me in the ways of life and basketball, altoughI am now HIS teacher on the hardwood! Seeing old friends and reconnecting is one of the glues that holds me together, and I thank God for allowing me to see my people again.
I could say much more, but I'll end with this: God is faithful. He never left me, even when I tried so desperately to leave Him, and that faithfulness was fleshed out in my life by the Livonia Church of Christ during my visit there. I am eternally endebted to my brothers and sisters there!