Nine years! Wow! Has it really been nine years! It seems like just yesterday I was driving cross country with Scott and Andrea, making our way to our new home in the South Okanagan. (Janice would join us a few days later and Lisa would stay behind to continue her studies at Wilfrid Laurier University.)
Nine years! A lot has changed in that time. We are now officially 'empty-nesters' with our children spread out over three different provinces. We have been blessed to watch them grow and start out on their own and we're equally blessed when they 'come home' to share all that is happening in their lives. We were blest to have them all home together this summer--the first time in two years.
At lot has changed at Valley over these past nine years as well. Many of us have shared the journey together--and none of us is getting any younger! We have along the way seen some of our friends 'go on before us' -- in this we experience both sadness and joy; sadness because we have lost for a season the fellowship we once shared with these friends, and joy because we know they are with our Lord and one day we will see them again. Peter speaks of a living hope; an inheritance that can never perish (I Peter 1:3-4). We cling to this certain hope!
We have also been blessed over the years by the addition of new friends who have come among us to worship with us and serve together--new friends and old friends faithfully serving our Lord; doing what we can as an on-going testimony to His grace and kindness which has been poured out in our lives. We have seen God's grace first hand as He has provided for and blessed us, especially as we have called out to Him in prayer--He has a been faithful! And in this our confidence has grown. And you know it is my desire to see you develop and carry this confident faith all the way to the finish line; to live well and finish well for His honor and glory; to continue to worship and give and serve as long as God gives us health and strength.
Stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:58)
Thank you for the blessing you have to Valley, and to me and Janice! We have been so blessed to serve with you and among you. Thank you for inviting us into your stories; to share life together with you; to enter into your joys and sorrows; to celebrate His abundant goodness and to lean on Him and each other when the path has been difficult. We were meant to experience this kind of community; it has been a rich part of our journey these past nine years.
When I return from my summer break next month, we will begin year 10 together. None of us knows what this year will bring but we embrace it with excitement and great hope because the One who called us on this journey, who promises to lead us and provide for us is faithful!
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)
AND...we are secure in His love!
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)
Be blessed by those who come among us to minister God's Word during my break; we look forward to re-connecting and continuing our journey together with you in the fall! Thank you again for the blessing you have been to me and my family.