Remember the saying "keep on truckin"? Though it appears to have originated in a 1930's song, it became popular to me in the 1970's. It was another way of saying keep on trying, don't give up and hang in there. Any way, as I was reading 2 Timothy one morning, which by the way I've read numerous times, I came to chapter 2 verse 12 and I never got any further. The first part of that passage goes like this, "if we endure, we will also reign with him".
Over the years, my home bible has become full of underlined passages, circled paragraphs and lots of things I've written wherever I can find space on a particular page. However, there was absolutely nothing next to this verse, or even this chapter, that is until that early December morning. Those 8 words stopped me in my tracks and over the next hour or so, I wrote down many thoughts, saved the verse in my phone and even texted it to a few people, as it really inspired me. I also came to realize how unimportant all the stuff in my life is and I don't just mean possessions, I mean all the "stuff" banging around in my head as well. I'm sure many of you have heard the saying "you can't take it with you". Well that never rang more true to me after I read that passage.
So what are we working for here on this earth? What are our goals? What to we want out of life? If it's all about possessions, keeping up with the Jones' and acquiring as much stuff as we can, we're probably traveling down a bumpy and mucky road that will dead end into a place I know I don't want to end up. As I contemplated over this passage, I also thought of Philippians 3 and even went back and read that chapter. I encourage you to stop reading this and go read that chapter, then come back and finish reading the rest of this post.
Welcome back. The word that stuck in my head after I finished reading all of those wonderful words is also the title of this post, ENDURE! That word offered such encouragement to me. Knowing that if we do endure, if we do keep on truckin', we will end up where? REIGNING WITH HIM! So if we can just endure, if we can just trust in Him, if we can believe that He is enough (see Job) and endure through everything that life can and will throw at us, we will end up reigning with Him. After really thinking about that, many of my so called problems in life didn't seem to be very problematic. So if things in your life feel like they're going so badly that you don't even want to get out of bed some days, or face the world, you must endure. If you're short on solutions and feel like your prayers aren't being heard, endure. If you feel like everything you do seems to turn out differently than what you expected, endure. If everything is going wrong and you just feel like giving up, endure. And when you feel like it will never get better, most definitely endure.
Remember, our time on this earth is minuscule, like a spec of sand on a beach. We are only here a very short time and when we depart this world, all the possessions we've gained will be gone and won't mean a darn thing. It's what we leave behind as a witness of Christ that is important. How we share our faith with and serve others. What we leave to our children, family and friends as Christ's ambassadors is what matters. If we strive for worldly pleasures until the day we die, it's very possible that we may have already lived. However, if we strive for what pleases God, what glorifies His name, furthers His kingdom and spreads His word, then in death we will end up living forever. The treasures of this world are short lived, but the treasures that await us if we endure are forever.
Last year our small group Cornerstone did a 6 week study on the book of John. Love is a consistent theme throughout that book. Most of us are familiar with the following scripture, which is in that book, "I give you a new commandment, that you love one another", John 13:34-35. Sounds easy enough when you read it, but putting it into action in our every day lives, well let's just say, that's not so easy.
If some of you are like me, you struggle with "loving" certain people in your life, whether that be a co-worker, a certain "friend", someone from your church or yes, even a family member. So how do we often handle those that just aren't easy to love? Here are some of the ways I've done so in the past. Avoid them, don't talk to them, ignore/don't acknowledge them when I see them or give them a very disingenuous greeting, talk about them to others, just remove them from your life and here's an oldie but goody, I'll love them when they love me, or when they apologize. Wow, that's really hard to see in print and even harder to admit that at one time or another, I have unfortunately used everyone of those methods.
Lately I've been thinking a lot about loving others, especially because I've been struggling with some relationships in my life. And these aren't just casual friends or occasional acquaintances, these are family members and decades long friends. Maybe you have some of the same struggles in your life. It's hard to love someone when you think they've wronged you, whether real or perceived, or done the same to someone you love. Or maybe they think differently than you, so obviously you're right and they're wrong. Or maybe their solution to a problem is in direct conflict with your solution. Or maybe they're just one of those people that are hard to love. So what do you do? I could say love them anyway, but for many of us, that's just not possible. It's easy to say, but good luck doing it!
I'd like to suggest a much smaller step and possible easier solution. This isn't a cop out, but something to bridge that divide between not loving and eventually loving. I personally am not strong enough in some circumstances and with some people to just love, though I strive to get there some day. That doesn't mean I should just give up on that situation or that person. This takes me back to one of my favorite sayings, "it's better to start small than not at all." Many of you have heard me use this before and I can't think of a better place to institute that quip.
So here's my solution, how about just being kind. Maybe it starts with a genuine greeting the next time you see "that person". Like making eye contact, having positive body language, or even a warm handshake. That's much easier to do, right? It might not sound like much, but go back and review some of the ways I handled these situations. Which has the potential to have a more positive outcome? Now am I saying this will always work? I'd like to think so, but it might not. However, what will it probably do for you and I believe in most instances, for the other person? How about removing our self-righteous attitudes, ridding ourselves of pride, releasing stubbornness and softening our hardened hearts. Now that's good, right? Then the next thing you know, that cordial but well meaning greeting or handshake is now a heartfelt hug and before you know it, you have found a new friend, or rekindled an old friendship. Again I ask, that's good, right? Can it really be something so small, so simple? Can it really be that easy? Yes, I believe it can and it all starts with a little kindness.
Though I still fail at this often, I have got it right a few times as well. And as I have come to see, others have thankfully got it right with me too. And those are stories that I love to share with people, but for now, let me close with this. Let's just try and be more kind to each other every day. And before you know it, guess what might just be peeking around the corner?
We left our church family in late October of 1942 getting used to the new Sunday morning schedule which had the Morning Worship service at 9:30 and Sunday School at 10:30 with the end of Sunday morning activities at 11:30 rather than 12 noon. My guess was that the shortening of time spent in the church on Sunday morning was in response to a nation-wide government request to save coal – nay, stronger than a request – coal was rationed. Our church boilers were fired by coal in 1942. Other items rationed were gasoline, tires, sugar, coffee, and meat. New cars were no longer available for purchase and would not be until sometime after the war’s end in 1945. (Cars were manufactured in late 1945, but they were the 1946 models.) Many industries were converted from supplying items for domestic use to supplying items needed for the war. Price controls were established to ensure that the scarcity of so many products wouldn’t result in their being sold for much higher amounts than the average family could afford. Life for everyone in the U.S. had changed rapidly since that devastating Sunday in December of the prior year. Just south and west of Girard by about 25 miles, a new dam was being constructed on the upper part of the Mahoning River in Berlin Township. Its purpose was to ensure that water could be held back from flooding the steel mills during spring rains, and then released during summer droughts to ensure that the mills had sufficient water to produce steel at maximum production. The Milton Dam had been completed in 1916, creating the lake in 1917. The increased steel production since that time required more ability to control the flow of the river. The dam in Berlin Township was completed in late October of 1942. Both dams would be guarded around the clock to prevent any sabotage, as they were essential to providing the steel we needed to produce the planes, ships, tanks, shells, and any other steel related items needed for the war.
In spite of being bombarded with constant war news, church life went on. The Official Board met on November 4th. The meeting received good financial news from both the Sunday School Supt. and the Trustees. The Sunday School could now donate $1,000 to the Building Fund. The Building Fund had suffered terribly during the Great Depression of the 1930’s. The new church had just been completed before the Stock Market crash of 1929. During the depression years of the early and mid thirties, the church simply could not afford to pay on their large mortgage.
Many times the Board would wonder which bills it could pay that month. Our prior Minister, Rev. Hilberry, often got his paycheck several weeks late. Now, with our country at war, the steel mills were working around the clock. The unemployment rate was practically zero. And our church was finally able to seriously tackle the building fund. And they did. The Trustees report to the Official Board was that the Building Fund was in good shape. They would keep working at paying off that mortgage throughout the war years until it was paid off at last.
Near the end of November came Thanksgiving Day. It has always been a family celebration and the year 1942 was no exception. Our church families gathered around their tables, and gave thanks for living here in the U.S., not where the war was raging in Europe, Asia, Africa and the high seas. They prayed for family members already in the fight, and for those about to be drafted. And they prayed for our country, and our country’s young men and also young women going wherever they were sent to defend us all.
November, 1942 Our church family seventy-five years ago.
Looking for more help with dealing with anxiety and depression? Below is a prayer you can pray for yourself or with a friend. Also a great book to read which helps with the Romans 12.2 verse "changing the way you think". Finally, a podcast from a Christian who has moved through these issues with God's help.
We left our church family last month, busy with the usual back to school activities, trying to maintain a sense of normality while reading, or hearing on the radio, news of war, most of it bad. The entire year of 1942 would be filled with bad news, as our country scrambled to adjust from peacetime to war, hurriedly calling up men to serve, training them quickly, and dispatching them to distant islands where they found the Japanese soldiers to be veterans, well trained and well equipped. Girard’s population was just short of ten thousand in 1942. If you counted Avon Park which is now part of Girard, with its 200 people, we were just over 10,000. We were not large enough to support a daily paper. Most Girard families probably subscribed to the Vindicator, but much of Girard news came from the weekly newspaper, published every Friday, called the Girard News. It was not free as many weekly papers are today. People subscribed to it, and many young boys and girls of school age had paper routes for it every Friday afternoon. It can be found, free, today, on microfilm at Girard Free Library, and I often peruse it to supplement our church archives. On the first Friday of October, 1942, the News headline read “Local Board Inducts 87 From Girard”. That was 87 more men plus the many inducted in previous months.
If you read my blog from last month, you will remember that I wrote of Mrs. Powers” report mentioned in the minutes of the Official Board that was partly illegible (handwritten in pencil 75 years ago) about what appeared to be the word “change”. The meaning immediately became clear when I read the “Church Notes” section of that same issue of the News. Under the heading “Girard Methodist Episcopal” was the following: “United Service 9:30 – 11:00, Morning Worship 9:30 – 10:15, Sunday School 10:15 – 11:00.” Now, that was a radical change. Not only were they switching around the times for church and Sunday school, but they were also shortening them to 45 minutes each. Sunday morning services would be finished by 11 AM, an hour earlier than before. I quickly checked the “Church Notes” of all the News issues of that month. They all said the same thing. When I got home from the Library I turned to our archives – especially the notes of the Official Board for the month of October, 1942. They met on Thursday evening, October 1st.
Among other business I found the following: “Motion by Mr. Crider, seconded by Mrs. Powers, that the Official Board is on record of changing the Sunday Services as follows: From 9:30 to 10:30 Worship Service; from 10:30 to 11:30 Sunday School. Motion carried.” There it was plainly written at last, still in 75 year old pencil. They were switching around the times for the worship service and the Sunday school. Apparently, the News was mistaken about the 45 minute part. The time on Sunday morning was reduced by ½ hour, ending at 11:30 rather than 12 noon. There was no explanation on the minutes for the change. Was it a wartime effort to cut down on the use of coal to heat the church? The transition time between Worship and Sunday School was eliminated. Perhaps they felt that if the old order of Worship following Sunday School was followed, the Worship service would either have to start later when everyone got to the Sanctuary from Sunday School, or they could start on time and many people would be late. By having Worship first, it could start and finish on time, and the Sunday School classes, consisting of many small units, could better deal with the loss of time during the change from Sanctuary to classroom. That is only a complete guess on my part. Maybe it had nothing to do with the war. Maybe they just wanted to try it that way. I have no idea. We’ll just have to let it be a mystery.
Another article in the News called “This Week On The Home Front” had suggestions for dressing children for school when the government recommended indoor high temperature was 65 degrees. The recommendation was corduroy pants for the boys, corduroy skirts for the girls, and warm long sleeved underwear under long sleeved shirts or blouses.
Meanwhile the news our church families heard or read about was continuing grim. Our Atlantic convoys of ships carrying supplies were regularly attacked by German U-boats (submarines), with many ships sunk and crew members lost. On October 13th, the U-Boats attacked convoy SC 104, and sunk seven ships. The next day, a U-Boat attacked and sunk a civilian ferry boat, the S S Caribou off Newfoundland, killing 137 people. On October 30, 1942, a diversionary convoy SL 125 was attacked heavily by the German U-Boats, sinking eleven ships. However, the troopships carrying our soldiers for Operation Torch invasion forces were untouched.
With that we will leave our church family in October of 1942, carrying on their home front duties as best they could, hoping and praying, that the wartime news would somehow get better as more and more men joined in the fight against the German and Japanese militaries.
Last month I shared with you the delightful copy of Rev. Maly’s report to the District Superintendent in August of 1942. This month I will report on what was happening in our church in September of 1942, seventy-five years ago.
The first Sunday in September fell on the 6th and the attendance for Sunday School for that day was 226 counting both teachers and students. The collection for that day was $14.29. Next Sunday, the 13th, attendance was 315, with the collection $18.58. The third Sunday’s attendance was 310 and the collection $16.67, while the final week in the month of September had attendance of 257 and a collection of $14.15. These attendance figures sound wonderful to our ears. However, the collection amounts seem so low, we cannot help wondering how they could possibly pay expenses for books and other teaching materials. When we check a conversion table, however, $100 in 1942 is roughly $1,557.63 today. These figures don’t apply to all purchases, but probably Sunday School teaching materials, at least printed ones probably would be in line with that ratio. So, the roughly 63 dollars collected in the month of September would be about 981 dollars today. If our Sunday School collected that amount each month, we wouldn’t have trouble purchasing teaching materials for approximately 300 students for the year. I wish I had the attendance figures for the Sunday morning worship, along with the collection figures. If these exist in our archives, I have yet to find them.
On September 3rd the Official Board held their monthly meeting at the Church. Their reports of minutes of the meetings are all handwritten, which I often struggle to decipher. They opened with prayer by Bro. Crider. Then they read the minutes of the August meetings, and approved them. Then Mrs Powers, Chairman of the Membership Committee, reported that “members plans for (illegible word – looks like it starts with a c – changing?), and may need help”. Then, Mrs Powers made the following motion, seconded by Mr Wormer: “That present arrangement for Sunday services be carried through October”. Motion carried. This was followed by a motion from Mr Crider, seconded by Mrs Powers that Financial Secretary be instructed to send October statements to membership. Motion carried. Then there was a motion to adjourn which passed. Nine members were present for this meeting.
The Women’s Society of Christian Service reported receipts for October, 1942 of $2.82 with disbursements of $1.00 for New Guides. This figure may be misleading, however, as it may be for only one unit. There were five or six different units. In addition, there was a note at the bottom of the page that Mrs. Baumgartner received $3 from Mrs. Guss and $2 from Mrs. Jones to send four boxes to our men in the service. The amount for boxes, cards, and postage was $4.56 or roughly $71 in today’s money. What we have from these ladies is only the financial report. It would be nice to know what goodies they included in the boxes and the names of the four young men who would receive the boxes, and where they were stationed.
Our country and our church family were only about ten months into World War II. It had been impacting our community since September of 1939, however, when Girard residents Arthur Fisher, a young teenager, and his mother were coming home from a summer vacation in England on The Athenia. This ship had the dubious distinction of being the first passenger ship torpedoed by the Germans in World War II. Arthur’s mother was rescued; Arthur was lost at sea. Along with all Americans, our church family watched unfolding events with feelings ranging from growing unease to increasing horror. Then, on December 7th1941, we weren’t watching anymore; we were in. Now we know that by September of ’42, we had at least 4 boys from our church serving our country. With the draft ever escalating, we know many more would join them. The early war news was generally bad. The Philippines had fallen although Gen. Douglas MacArthur, his family and key members of his staff had been smuggled out by PT boat to safety in Australia. German submarines operated off the Atlantic Coast with seeming impunity, picking off ships from convoys, 6 here, 4 here, 2 or 3 here or there. They were even picking off ships in the Gulf of St Lawrence and in the Gulf of Mexico. The Japanese had invaded some of our Alaska islands. Now, in September, a Japanese float-plane had dropped incendiary bombs near Brookings, Oregon. This was the first bombing of the continental United States. As I said earlier, there is little in our Archives that tells us the thoughts and fears of our church family at that difficult time. We can only imagine how we would have felt had we been there, mothers and fathers of young men and women of age to fight for our country. Most of us who lived through the war were just kids at that time. We can remember practice blackouts, neighborhood air raid wardens, our moms writing letters to cousins or uncles, our dads working overtime, saving our tin cans for scrap drives, rationing cards for sugar and shortages of meat.
With that said, we will leave our church family in September of 1942, seventy-five years ago.
After reading the passage below about a month ago, I was again amazed at how something I've read many times before could affect me so deeply. It's one of my favorite things about reading the same book in the bible, seeing something I didn't see before. After writing an email to the Cornerstone class a few weeks ago regarding this passage, I wanted to blog about it as well, but I was just "too busy". The scripture is an excellent passage about poverty and riches, but we all need to realize that riches can be so much more than just money and/or possessions and though I will touch on riches, I'd primarily like to focus on the line I put in bold below.
James 1:9-11. Let the believer who is lowly boast in being raised up, and the rich in being brought low, because the rich will disappear like a flower in the field. For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the field; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. It is the same way with the rich; in the midst of a busy life, they will wither away.
I want to briefly touch on "riches". Yes, it can most certainly be about money and/or possessions, but there are so many other "riches" which sidetrack us from our relationship with God and growing our faith. There's work, family commitments, kids activities and sports, friends, food, our houses, vacations, staying in or getting back in shape, parties, TV, social media, sleeping in, our golf game and many, many more. These are all wonderful things in moderation and most certainly gifts from God or "riches". However, are they the focal point of our lives to the point where we have no time for God? Speaking for myself, the answer to that question is way too oftenYES. All of those things I mentioned aren't bad, but if they are all time consuming in our lives and we never, or rarely make time for God, we fall right into the last line of the passage, in the midst of a "busy" life, they will wither and fade away.
For most of this summer, I have been in a spiritual rut, for lack of a better term. And after reading these few lines in James, I can honestly say I was blown away. I came to realize that I've have been way too busy to find time for God. Yes, I've done some occasional reading and been at church every week and even prayed, but it's usually when I have "extra time". You see, my point is this, God gives us so much, we are blessed with abundant riches and yet those blessings can almost become all time consuming, to the point where we don't have much time, if any, for God in our daily lives.
Are we in the midst of such a busy life, that we only spend time with Him when we have some spare time? I have been trying to make time every day for God after reading this passage about four weeks ago and I can honestly say, other than a random day here or there, I am still absolutely terrible at it. And this is even after the aforementioned email I sent to Cornerstone. If we truly want to spend more time with God, it has to be intentional, it has to be something we wholeheartedly want to make part of our daily lives.
Imagine if God was there for us only when He had spare time, which by the way, would be never, or after He was done doing all His "other stuff". Imagine if He wasn't there always, at any time of the day, but only during Sundays and specified prayer time, or only during certain hours of the day or week. That's what so amazing and at times, hard to fathom. He's always there, ALWAYS!! And yet, because we are too busy, we can only give Him an hour on Sundays, except in the summer, when we're "even busier" and if we have time during the week, after we finish with all the other important things we need to do, then we'll get to Him.
Now I didn't write this to make us all feel guilty about how we spend our time, or guilty about what's truly important in our lives. All that stuff I mentioned above is important, but we can't let it be so important that we have little if any time for God on a daily basis. Because I believe if we do that, then yes, we will wither away. As I was writing to Cornerstone, my thoughts wandered back to what I said earlier in that email, that I was in a spiritual rut. In the midst of writing to them, I had the following revelation, every time I've been in one of those ruts, there was one thing missing, meaningful, truly meaningful time spent with God. I know there are times when we are just so busy, that it's not possible that day to spend some time with Him. That's called life and at this time of the year, it's also called SUMMER. However, it is very easy to get into that life mode, especially in the summer and the next thing you know, we haven't been to church in weeks, picked up our bible, had some meaningful prayer time, served in some capacity at the church, gone out of your way to serve or reach out to others, or just spent some quiet time with our Lord. It's especially easy to do in the summer, isn't it? All I have to do is look in the mirror. I'm the king of being in "summer break mode".
So what's the answer? What's the solution? There are many, like don't get caught up in the busyness of our summer schedule, or don't let all our "riches" get in the way, or don't say we're too busy today and we'll get back to Him tomorrow and many more I could give you. But in the end, the question is what do we want in our lives? Will it be a life full of stuff and things and possessions and busyness, with little if any time for God? Or is it a day to day relationship with the one who gives us all those blessings? After all is said and done, it's our choice.
My prayer for all of us is that we can make more time for God, every single day. If we do that, I truly believe the spiritual ruts will be few and far between, we'll all be much, much better for the that time we invested with our Father and His son and we won't wither, but truly blossom in our faith and in service to our Father.
This month I thought I would share with you the following delightful report from our pastor, Rev. Maly, to the District Superintendent, for the fourth quarter report of the church year. It seems that the church year began in September and ran through August, so this report was made during the month of August. It is not dated, so I am not completely certain that it was submitted in August of 1942. It could have been 1943 or 1944. However I found it with the August minutes of the Official Board for 1942 and I will just assume that is the correct date for it.
Rev. Maly begins the report with a paragraph addressed to the District Superintendent, Dr. Paul Secrist, thanking him for his cooperation and fellowship, and wishing him well for the coming year’s work.
The rest of the report is, in Rev. Maly’s own words, a description of his past year’s work. It is so different from the type of report we send to the District Superintendent today. Ihope you will enjoy reading it as much as I did:
“As the pastor of this church I wish to make a report of some of the things we have done this year. It would be impossible to bring a full account of the year’s work, for there are so many things that cannot be said about the work that is done, for many of the pastor’s duties spring up impromptu as the days come and go. It is almost impossible to really keep track of the time a preacher spends in his study, in calling, in conferences of all kinds, in community and social work, in letter writing, in attending socials and in devotions. So far in my ministry I have never been able to say my work was really done. I have always discovered there are still sick to visit, problems to iron out, reading to be done, folks to love and fellowship with, letters to write, prayers to pray, boys and girls to teach and social work to be done.
A Resume of This Past Year’s Work:
We have made some progress this past year. We have increased our attendance and decreased our indebtedness. Our membership is still growing. Our church finances have been better this year than any year since I have been here. We have had several vital conversions. We have added new people to the official family of our church and they have done an excellent job. When we have fallen back on those of the church who have been the back bone of this church for many years we have found them to be ready and willing to help. I feel we are on the right track and with the help of Almighty God we will do an even better piece of work in the future.
Next I want to show my appreciation for the fine Christian woman who for some reason does not feel ashamed to call me her husband. She has been wife, mother, secretary, treasurer and adviser in the parsonage. I know a church does not hire a minister’s wife but a minister without a good wife to keep him straight is not as good a minister as he would be with such a wife. I want to say here and now that I owe a great deal to Mrs. Maly for she has been a constant help and inspiration to me.
We have many plans for the future and all of them concern the forward movement of the church. We pray for the guidance and help of Almighty God. Our chief concern is that the Kingdom of God shall continue to succeed. Mrs. Maly and I want to do all we can to help it succeed. We appreciate your faith in us and the cooperation we have received from you in the past more than we can tell you, and we hope and pray for your continued faith and cooperation for the future. Sincerely yours, Rev. A. S. Maly”
This was our pastor’s report to the District Superintendent seventy-five years ago in our church. In all the official reports I have seen, this one seems unique, and I just wanted to share it with you.
This is the story of Tom & Kelly Doctor when they adopted their precious daughter, Avery.
Our journey to adoption was absolutely faith based! People are always asking me what made us want to adopt. My answer to that is simple. Jesus died on the cross for us. There is NOTHING we could ever do to even come close to repaying Him for that sacrifice (not that it is even expected of us!). So what could we do as a family to honor that ultimate sacrifice? We could absolutely give a child a family and a home (i.e. the least of my brethren)!
We prayed about it a lot. It had to be something that everyone was on board with. It was in 2003 that we began the process of international adoption. Some folks ask why we did not choose to adopt domestically. At the time, there were so many news reports about children who were put up for adoption in the U.S. and then 3-5 years later some relative or baby daddy who wasn't properly notified would go to court to get the child back. I would watch as these children were torn from their adoptive parents' arms and knew that I could not bear that. Plus, EVERY child deserves a family, no matter what. But really, when people do ask me that, the first thing I say is, "Oh, are you asking because you are thinking of adopting?" The answer is always, "No" but it's my snarky way of calling them out.
So, it took over a year of paperwork, background checks, reference letters, financial disclosures, home study by a social worker, etc. Our paperwork went to China in August of 2004. We didn't get to pick out our daughter, God (and China) did that for us. In late Sept. of 2004 our social worker called us and said that she had a FedEx envelope with our daughter's picture in it. We met with her immediately and there are no words to describe holding that picture (attached) and knowing that this is your child. Our social worker told us that we had 24 hours to review her medical history with a physician if we wanted to. There was really no reason. This was our child, no matter what. So we signed right then and there. In late October 2004, Tom and I and our two girls (who were in kindergarten and 9th grade at the time) took a trip of a lifetime to go get our Avery in China. She had been abandoned in a box on the steps of a hostel and found by her orphanage director of all people. She was found on Sept. 25 of 2003 so they gave her the birthdate of Sept. 21 because she still had her umbilical cord attached. Avery was actually 13 months old when we got her.
We started this journey in the hopes of giving a family to a child who had none and hopefully being a blessing to that child. But in the end, it is that child who has blessed OUR lives BEYOND MEASURE. In China, people would pat Avery's head when we were out with her and say 'Lucky Baby'. Little did they know that it is we, who are the lucky ones.
Connect with Pastor Vicky, Dave DiBernardi, Sally Wagner and Shane Russo as they share what God is doing in our lives and what we are learning as we grow.