Looking forward….Looking Upward
I took a trip down memory lane today — and got lost. Not that I lost my memory (that’s another story) but the lane has changed.
We are in Springdale, Arkansas this week, near my hometown of Bentonville. Paul and I took a jaunt today to see some of the “famous” landmarks of my past. I was surprised to find that most of them have disappeared. A major boom has hit the area and urban sprawl has replaced the quaint small town and much of the surrounding countryside.
But that’s part of life. Everything changes. I’ve thought of that a lot lately. After the rush and effort of disposing of our belongings and saying goodbye, it hit me. I am leaving. Things will never be the same. Nostalgia keeps creeping up behind me and hitting me on the heart. I’m suddenly swept with sadness and a longing for the way it used to be.
Life doesn’t stay in one place, though. Even if I stayed in Oklahoma until I’m 93, it would be different. Children grow up. People move away. People die.
Bro. Forrest Keener, a longtime friend, made that final journey this week. Everyone says the same thing. He lived a full life, a life that mattered. He lived it for his God, and everyone knows he went to a well-deserved reward. That’s what I want — for my life to count for the Lord.
So I’m trying to pick up my flagging spirits and to look ahead. Thailand is thick with opportunities to serve. Life is flying past at warp speed, it seems, so I can’t afford to waste it looking backward. I need to face the opportunities, head-on.
Deputation continues to be great! We had a wonderful time with Brother Pat and Sister Dianne Horner and Calvary Baptist Church in Santa Anna at a special service on Thursday. Then it was on to Benton, Arkansas (not BentonVILLE that time). Pastor Steve Raines had a bad flare up of a leg problem, so we missed seeing him, but had a good time with Marsha, Rebecca, and Paul and the church folks.
Sunday night was another good time of fellowship with the Portland Baptist Church of Plumerville, Arkansas, where Bro. Lindy Davis pastors. Again, it was a joy to see the zeal God’s people have for missions!
Monday morning saw us headed for Springdale. The folks at Berean Baptist Church graciously provided a very nice motel room for the week. We were ready to stop and let our hair down for a bit! We had a relaxing couple of days — or I did. Paul spent a lot of time in study and preparation and was on the phone much of the time about the funeral arrangements. We did take time for some bike rides. There is an amazing biking/hiking trail in Fayetteville through woods, by wildflower meadows, and around the lake. Five miles of beauty!
The church service at Berean was a blessing. The people were eager to hear about the work and asked lots of questions. They were so supportive and encouraging!
Now we are on the road to Oklahoma for a couple of days. Bro. Keener’s funeral is at 11 a.m. Friday at the Bodine Baptist Church, since Sherwood very likely won’t hold all the people we expect.
After the interment in Lawton we will go back to Texas to be with Bro. Cozart at Grace Baptist Church in Tyler, then over to Oakdale, Louisiana. We look forward to seeing Bro. Jack Duplechain and Virginia. Paul will be speaking at the church they are attending.
Lots of good things are ahead. I’m doing my best to keep my eyes forward on the goal, but if you want to pray for me, I could use some extra help getting there!
On the Road to Thailand,