Tuesday, January 20, 2015

a vacation with a purpose

Stan and I spent the weekend in Hilton Head, South Carolina.  It was our first time to go there, and while it wasn't particularly warm and sunny, we enjoyed visiting the beach on Saturday.

We realized how much we miss the ocean.  Our summer cabin in Japan was on the Pacific coast, and we enjoyed being able to get up there at least once a year for a time of refreshment. We would love to find a beach place on this side of the US where we could go annually for a week of rest and renewal.

I haven't read it yet, but there is a book that was published recently by Wallace J. Nichols  entitled  Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do.  The title basically affirms what I've already experienced!

While it was nice to to visit Hilton Head, our reason for choosing this destination was more than just to sit on the beach.  We had elderly prayer partners who moved to Hilton Head a few years ago and we wanted to visit with them face-to-face.  Mrs. G has been incredibly faithful with cards to us over the holidays, special events, and even corresponded with our oldest daughter after her marriage and move to the UK.

In preparation for the visit, we tried to get in touch with the G's.  The phone numbers we found didn't work, and we were a bit stumped as to how else to connect. Stan sent a post card, but we were just not sure how this visit would develop.  Once we got to Hilton Head, we tried another number we found, but that again didn't connect.  So after our beach time we drove to the address we had on file for them--only our trip ended at the guard house of a gated community.  The guard helped Stan call another number on file, and he ended up talking with G's daughter-in-law and later the G's son.  We found out that Mr. had died last month, and Mrs. was in a nursing home following a fall.

Sunday after church, Stan and I drove to visit Mrs. G in the nursing home. She was surprised to see us, but very grateful for the visit. For a woman in her mid 90's, she was able to remember quite a bit about us--speaking of our children by name and talking about various prayer requests we'd given over the years. We found out that this past Christmas she sent over 100 Christmas cards to missionaries! This has been her ministry over the years, and we have been privileged to be one recipient.

Hugging her before we left, we realize we will most likely not see her again this side of heaven. There are a number of our prayer partners who have already gone ahead of her, and others who are not far behind. We wonder if there are others who will come along side us and take up their places in their ministry of prayer.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers,against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.   Ephesians 6:12