My Dear Amigos,
Sara and I are engaged! On September 12th I took Sara on a surprise outing. I didn’t tell her where she was going, but that she may want a change of clothes. Once we got to the parking terminal for the Catalina Flyer, she got the idea. Then atop the lovely Wrigley Tower, above Avalon, I got on one knee and I asked Sara: “Sara, Will you marry me?” Sara’s jaw had dropped, I really had surprised her. She said “Yes” with a very big smile, and my best friend Jim and his wife Lacy, were there to capture the magic!
September 29th Sara and I flew to meet the directors of Tentmakers Bible Mission. This was an important step for my mission to know her and for her to know my mission before we get married, especially before I take Sara, as my wife, on to the Spanish Mission Field. We were met at the airport by the Executive Director of TBM, Ron Thomson and his wife, Wanda. As usual they were very warm and welcoming. They took us to the Cracker Barrel Restaurant, where I feasted on traditional American food for one of the last times in 2010, as I flew to Spain on returning from the trip. We drove to the Thompson’s craftsman home, called Elim House, in the mountains above Salt Lake, in a little town called Morgan. In the morning we drove back into Salt Lake City, where we met with Tentmaker’s Missionary Care Coordinator, Dr. Vince Tharp. Sara got to know him and the Thompsons over brunch before our conference started. It was very interesting meeting other missionaries who I had read about in Tentmakers News, but who I didn’t know personally. I got to know Pastor Subramanian from India. We got a ride to the airport from Eric Reinhard of IBC Ministries, who helps to put on an annual pastor’s training conference in Uganda and Kenya. Sara got to befriend Techy Fowler and her family from Peru. It was such a nice three days, before we knew it, it was October first and Sara and I had to fly back to San Diego. After arriving at Sara’s house in San Diego, we were just there long enough to load supplies for the Buen Pastor Mission Hospital into her truck, and then we were driving into the line of cars entering Tijuana, Mexico, on Friday night. It was after midnight when I drove into Sara’s parent’s driveway in San Quintin, Baja. It was a special two days with Sara’s family and church. Pastor Basilio Nuñez of Calvary Chapel San Quintin, invited me up to the pulpit to give an update on the work in Spain on Sunday Morning. It was the fourth time Pastor Basilio has gone out of his way to let me speak at his church. After I shared and asked for prayer for the healing of my sister, Lisa Leatherwood, of cancer, Pastor Basilio prayed for Lisa and asked the congregation to try to collect a gift for me, as he was asking me about the airfares for Utah and Spain. I told him I was going in faith, and later after I shared in the service, the pastor raised a collection for my airfare from the humble people of rural San Quintin, Mexico, and Calvary Chapel San Quintin added to that offering. I told him that I felt very humbled to accept that money, and he assured me that God loves a cheerful giver, and his congregation will be blessed for their offering towards my missionary efforts. Later that afternoon, it was baptism day for Capilla Calvario at the San Quintin Molino Viejo dock. Pastor Basilio honored me again, asking me if I would like to join him baptizing, but by that time I had contracted Montezuma’s Revenge and was feeling shaky. In the picture, Pastor Basilio (right) baptizes Sara’s niece Abrilita.
Before I knew it, after getting home from Mexico on Monday October 4th, it was time to pack my last things. Poor Sara arrived at my mom’s house exhausted, having gone to work Monday morning after getting home late from Mexico. She drove me to LAX at 3:50 am and I was all checked in by 5:20am for my 7:00am flight to Newark. Sara and I had our tearful goodbye, and then it was back to work in Sevilla, leading the music on Thursday October 7th in Puebla del Rio, Andalucía.
October 24th, was my third week back leading music on a Sunday. Today is also Lisa Leatherwood’s 37th birthday. Keep praying for Lisa’s recovery! She is happy to be home and not in pain after 5 weeks in the Hospital de Navarra. You can follow Lisa’s progress in her fight against cancer on: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/lisaleatherwood
I preached the last two weeks, Oct 17th on Revelation Chapter 2, about Christ’s message to the church in Ephesus. I told our congregants that sometimes the Work of God takes priority over God of the Work, and that the Church of Christ can take up more of our attention than the Christ of the church. We can’t forget God in all our “good works”. We need to ask God to bring us back to the passion of our first love for Him, the love that we had for Him, when He saved us from our sins. I think there was a good response by our congregation. We also had a slide-show and testimonies by our congregants, remembering Missionary Joanie Steffens, who went to Heaven on Thursday after a long bout with cancer. She gave 12 years of her life as a missionary in our church in Puebla del Rio. October 24th I preached on Christ’s message to the suffering Believers in Smirna. Fear Not, be faithful to the end.
The last two Friday night’s we had our few youth get together to try to get from them, what activities they would like to do. Last Friday Dan Ashcraft had each one share how they came to know Christ. It was a fun night of bonding and pizza! This Friday, we began a “Discovery Bible Study” beginning in Genesis 2:4. The study was already make the kids think about what they believe, so I was glad to hear their feedback after they had finished copying the passage into their notebook and having written a summary beside it. All the youth this Sunday said they look forward to our next meeting. Sometimes we’ll take the youth to castles or botanical gardens or beaches to do the study. My co-workers and I had fun bonding times at the beach with these youth this summer, so we’re trying to build on these relationships with the teens.