What is the Pastor up to?
First, let me start by saying "Thank You!" to the elders for giving me this time, to the staff for making my absence hard to detect, and to the church family for supporting this time away. So far, two-and-a-half weeks in, it has been very beneficial and restful. Here's what we've done:
The sabbatical leave is officially from June 15 to July 15. On June 12, Caleb left for Florida where he has done a lot of fishing and will work for Shelley's neice's husband doing pool service and maintenance until his return to Tucson August 2. Empty nest hit early.
On June 15, Shelley and I traveled to San Diego to join our two older kids and their spouses for a wedding on June 16. On Father's Day we had the surprise gift from our Airbnb hosts of free access to the San Diego Zoo. From there, we took care of our granddaughter while our oldest and his wife escaped for a three-day camping trip celebrating their 4th anniversary. When they returned we drove to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon where we enjoyed the beauty and majesty of one of God's greatest wonders. Two nights later we drove to Prescott where we met many from RMPC to celebrate (and officiate) at Daniel and Alia Lindberg's wedding. That was a lot of fun! They got married at a zoo after all!
From Prescott we went to Gallup where we got to spend time with my 97-year-old mother and two of my brothers for almost four days. Our travels ended with a two-night stay at the Sampson's cabin in Pinetop.
Upon returning to Tucson we've been laying low, catching up on things around the house, and I've been working on my book--a premarital counseling manual. However, i've been presented with an opportunity too good to pass up. On Saturday, July 7, I will drive down to Hermosillo, MX. There I will have the opportunity to preach the gospel, baptize several children, and celebrate the Lord's Supper in a new church plant started by former RMPC members Ryan and Yunven Jankowski. I'll return to Tucson on Monday, July 9.
On Wednesday, July 11, Shelley and I will return to southern California to see our older children again. We will return on July 15 and I will be back in the office on July 16.
Quite the whirlwind, right? But what a great time to see God at work in so many lives and to enjoy each of those we have spent time with to the full. Today I got to spend almost two hours hearing how God worked in the life of one of our elders, Dave Sampson, through his open-heart surgery and subsequent recovery. God is so good to his people.
I'm looking forward to what God has in store in Hermosillo and southern California. Before you know it, I'll be back.