One of the joys of being back in the States for six months of home assignment/sabbatical is reconnecting with and attending our home churches.
This Sunday we were at our first one: Grace Church of DuPage.
How Grace became one of our home churches is a sweet story.
In 1991, the year we came to Wheaton College for Dave's graduate school, a girl from our youth group in Karlsruhe, Germany, was in her sophomore year there. She'd starting attending Grace during her freshman year, and told us what an impact it was having on her life, and that we should come to visit and see what we thought.
Our first Sunday in Wheaton, we attended Grace Church.
And never went anywhere else!
Two years later they became our sending church as we left for the Czech Republic to begin a brand new ministry, Josiah Venture. And they have faithfully stood with us ever since. How deeply appreciative we are of our Grace family!
Ellie, in the picture above, was in junior high during the time we were there. Now she's wife to Bob, and mom to four precious children, including Chase who is nearing the end of a year of chemotherapy.
Their story has been a huge testimony of God's mercy, sustenance and power. She writes an honest, deeply moving blog if you want to read more about one of our precious friends from Grace Church. Click HERE to read it. And pray for Chase. His last chemo is tomorrow.
"Papa" Russell is another one of our good friends at Grace, along with his dear wife, Judi. They've taken us into their homes more times than I can count, and in fact, that's where we stayed this past week while we were in the Wheaton area.
We celebrated Caleb's 2nd birthday at their house years ago, and Claire's 19th birthday just this past Saturday. Those are good friends, who will let you be at their house, not only to stay, but to have parties! :) Thank you Russell's!!
I could on and on about all the wonderful people at Grace, and the ways they've loved, cared for and served us for the past 22 years.
Mostly I just want to say how deeply thankful our family is for them. Thank you Grace Church for all you've invested in our lives personally, as well as in Josiah Venture through the years!