Sunday, February 17, 2019

Morning at Grace

Waking up in this "home away from home" this morning was so meaningful.

Twenty eight years ago, the Lord led us to attend Grace Church of DuPage when we were living in Wheaton while Dave got his master's degree at Wheaton College. The pastor and his wife befriended us that year, and became very close friends. We have walked through life together ever since.

Yet it has only been his wife, Theresa, who we have walked through life with.

Rich, her husband, died of brain cancer just a few years after we'd met them.

I know that it was at this window on the morning of his death, when Theresa stood here and made a decision.

Choosing that morning to not be bitter against God, but to trust him, and her three teenagers at the time, to the Lord's care, she has been my role model for years of a godly woman who chose the high road of faith in the face of difficulties. I admire her so much, and have often looked to her for wisdom and advice during adversities in our lives.

She serves with us in JV now, and is an invaluable member of our team as she cares for HR needs, and a whole lot more. But personally, she's been there for me and our family, opening her home to us on so many occasions, and sometimes for long periods of time. Every time I'm here I'm reminded of her servant heart and trust in God.

Her husband pastored here, in the same place where Dave got to stand today and share about JV, as well as preach.

There are so many beloved people in this church that we've known for years. Including some little people!

If you've been reading my blog for a while you might remember this post from October 2016. The photographer that day was none other than Karsten, who came to find me after church to take another photo for me!

Karsten is from a family we've known for years, given that his mom was once on a junior high retreat with Dave when he taught them long ago!

In the years since then, she married, had four children, and has been through a very difficult battle with one of her kids.

This is Chase, her third born, who was diagnosed with brain cancer at 2 years of age. This boy is a warrior and a survivor. While it has been a grueling seven years for their family, he is alive today. Yet not all is well.

They just found out he has thyroid cancer and will undergo surgery this Thursday to remove it, in hopes of decimating that blasted cancer again. Do pray for him, his mom, Ellie, dad, Bob, and his three siblings. It is a "moment by moment" battle in their family as they wrestle with this disease.

His mom has profoundly captured this difficult journey HERE on her blog, Chase Away Cancer.

She also wrote a book by the same name if you want to read more

After the service today we gathered in the gym for lunch, and for the opportunity to share more in depth about what God's doing through Josiah Venture.

This dear body of believers sent us out years ago, and has covered us in prayer and care ever since. How thankful we are for them today and every day!

It's a privilege to be an extension of their ministry throughout the globe.

Just a funny note to end this post!

Dave and I were the last ones to leave church after the luncheon, and headed out to the snowy parking lot to get in our car. As we were getting in, we heard someone call out to us from far across the parking lot, "Hello Patty's!" Not able to see who it was, we just waved back and shouted out a hello back to them.

No sooner had we driven off than we received this photo from Claire in Czech! It was her friends, who had just returned from a college/career retreat and they had taken that photo of us and sent it to her! 🤣 🤣 🤣

We laughed so hard, again seeing how small the world really is! How thankful we are to be connected to this group of people who love the Lord and care about us.

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