Feb 17, 2019

Dear family and friends,

Its 4a.m. when 17 year old Josh hears an odd, loud pop. He looks outside and sees bright flames slapping up against his neighbors side of their house. Josh pounds on the door, wakes up the family and all are evacuated in time before the flames engulf much of the house. It so happens that Diane and John had their niece and nephew and their five children visiting. All nine of them made it out, even the two cats were eventually found and rescued by the firemen.

Something very similar happened to Jim and Glenna, other friends, in another state around the same time. Fortunately, no one was hurt either.

I know these couples to be families who are quickly right there for others in time of need. Both love God and love bringing God’s loving presence in word and action to those in need. They each shared how now they are learning how to ask for help, humbly receive help and let themselves be loved and cared for. They have been in the process of grieving what was lost. Much of the treasured pictures, books, little and large items that carry great memories of loved ones, travels and meaningful experiences have been taken from them.

Yet, through the genuine pain of loss and sudden substantial disruption, they have found a gently growing peace and calm on the way as well. They are adjusting to releasing what they must while holding moments of good in their hearts and souls.

For both, their home has always been open to many as a warm, safe and welcoming sanctuary. I along with many have shared in the joy and care given over a meal and meaningful conversations. I treasure these memories with them. I grieve with them also.

Unexpected difficult, painful and even devastating changes come to all of us at some point in life, maybe even on numerous occasions. It is healthy to grieve these changes. It is healthy to allow God time to bring comfort, healing and hope in ways that these difficult times open us up to like never before. There is little or even no promise that we will not have these hard experiences in our lives. Yet, God is always faithful in one way or another to be there, and often you and I will be on both sides of His care, learning to receive and learning to give.

I thank God for you each and the way of Jesus encouragement you live and give.

Pastor Dale

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