A Prayer for Audrey

Audrey Lynn Reyner

December 3, 2017
8 pounds 10 ounces
Durham, NC
Parents: Scott and Mary Reyner
Grandparents: Shay and Linda Reyner (aka Nona and Pop Pop)


Screen Shot 2017-12-05 at 9.34.12 AMThank you for this newest little blessing that You have given our family. You continue to pour out grace upon grace to us and we are very grateful. Grateful for her safe delivery. Grateful for her health. Grateful for her mom and dad and brother. Grateful for the life You have planned for her.

I pray that Your Spirit would fuel her with “joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory”  from the beginning of her life. That she would find delight in You and Your ways even as a little child and that there would be a demonstrative gladness that radiates from within her.

I pray that her life would reflect the meaning of her name –  noble strength. Noble in the sense that she is a living breathing reflection of the King of Kings. And that her strength would be “in the Lord and in the power of His might.” That she would understand that Your strength will be perfected in her weakness. That she find strength through humility. Strength through serving others. Strength through unselfishness.

I pray that she would experience You as Jehovah Shalom: The Lord is my Peace – that she would know a peace that surpasses all understanding; a peace that comes from knowing that she has been reconciled and redeemed; a peace that energizes her to live a life of contentment.

I pray too that she would experience You as Jehovah Roi: The Lord is my Shepherd – that You would guide her throughout her life. That she would joyfully follow You because You are the Good Shepherd. That she would rest knowing that You will provide for her and that You will protect her and that You will always prove yourself faithful to her.

And finally I pray she would always know that she is very loved by You. That she would know the all sufficient love of Christ no matter what happens to her in this life knowing that your love will sustain her with hope for the life to come. And too, may she always know how much she is loved by her mom and dad and the rest of her family. Care for this little girl and use her to be an incredible testimony to the glory of Your name.

Poland/Baltic Adventures

This past Wednesday, Linda and I returned from oversees having been out of the country for two and half weeks. Our trip was divided into 2 different adventures both of which were excellent.

Adventure #1 – For the 4th time in 5 years our church staffed a retreat for the missionaries (M’s) that are in the Germanic and Catholic clusters of Europe. This includes M’s from Germany, Austria, The Czech Republic, Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia, Slovakia, and Poland. We gathered in Jelenia Gora, Poland with about 55 M families  who came together for meetings, fellowship, worship in their heart language, and soul refreshment. Our job was to provide ministry to the M kids and students, lead worship, and create some fun surprises for the adults.

Linda and I, along with 7 others were in charge of the Student Ministry. Essentially we hosted a 4 day retreat experience for middle and high school students. It took me back to the 25 years that I spent in Youth Ministry and reminded me why I stayed so long and how much I enjoyed working with students. I did a series of messages entitled “Not Your Average Joe” and looked at 4 “Joes” in Scripture and what it was that made them not your average Joe: Josiah, Jonah, Joseph (OT), and Barnabas – yeah, Barnabas. See if you can figure out why he is not an average JOE. Here are a couple of pictures of the awesome students we had the privilege of hanging out with for the week…


This is after one of my famous “Shay hikes”. The next one is the group sporting our “Not Your Average Joe” tee shirts.


Adventure #2 – Our Poland retreat finished up on Saturday, August 5. We had flown into Prague but we were flying out of Berlin. We arrived in Berlin around lunchtime and since our flight home was not until Sunday morning we took a 4 hour tour of Berlin in the afternoon. Hit all the main tourist spots like Checkpoint Charlie, The Berlin Wall, TheBrandenburg Gate, the Holocaust Monument, and a few government places.


The rest of the team took off early Sunday morning but Linda and I stayed behind and took a train up to the northern coast of Germany where we boarded a ship and began a 9 day cruise with Norwegian around the Baltic Sea. It was AWESOME. We had great sailing weather – never really knew we were even on a ship. Incredible dining experiences. Perfect weather everywhere we went – sunny and 70-75 degrees. We enjoyed all the ports as well as the 2 days we were at sea. Norwegian did an excellent job of spoiling us and refreshing us. Here are a few pictures that will not do justice to our experience but will at least give you some kind of idea to what our trip was like…

Warnemunde, Germany – Day 1
Tallinn, Estonia – Day 3
St Petersburg, Russia – Day 4
St Petersburg, Russia – Day 5
Helsinki, Finland – Day 6
Stockholm, Sweden – Day 7
Copenhagen, Denmark – Day 9


And a few random pictures…



A few comments about the trip…

1) We enjoyed all the ports but Copenhagen was our favorite.
2) We loved walking around the Old Towns of Tallinn and Stockholm.
3) The Peterhof Palace and Gardens  outside of St Petersburg was incredibly beautiful.
4) We were unplugged for most of the trip which was kind of nice.
5) We got in over 23,000 Fitbit steps in Copenhagen.
6) The Danish danish in Copenhagen would be worth flying back for (see picture above).
7) I am now quite the selfie stick master.
8) Never underestimate the value of your favorite pillow.
9) It was great to be away together by ourselves for an extended period of time.
10) We loved the trip but we were glad to get back home.

And we would definitely recommend a Baltic cruise with Norwegian Cruise Lines to anyone who is so inclined – and I was not paid to write that.


A Prayer for Miller

Miller William Ferrell
April 27, 2017
6:57 am
7 pounds, 2 ounces
21 inches long

“…May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, having the eyes of your heart enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which He has called you, what are the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of His power toward us who believe according to the working of His great might….” (Ephesians 1:17-19)

Father, I want to echo this prayer that Paul prayed for the Ephesians on behalf of my grandson Miller. As he grows up and as he develops a knowledge of who You are I would ask that You would do these three things…

Would You open the eyes of his heart so that he would be enabled to see You as the glorious God that you are. I know that the enemy of his soul will do everything that he can to blind Miller to what is truth. I ask You to protect him from the evil one in this regard. And just as Elisha also asked that his servant’s eyes would be opened, I too ask that Miller would be able to see the vast army of heavenly forces that are ready to fight on his behalf. Give him eyes to see what most people cannot see – the greatness of Your glory and the bounty of Your grace towards him.

Would You also fill him with the hope of Your salvation. He has been born into a world that tends to drain people of hope and causes them to despair rather than to find joy in You. Would You so work in his life that he always senses Your presence and protection so that even when life is hard  he still is emboldened with hope and fueled with courage to live a life that makes a difference for the Kingdom. Use him to be an ambassador of hope  to a world that more and more feels hopeless.

And too, would You give him great contentment in this world as he looks forward to the next world. Help him to recognize how rich he is even when he might be poor according to the standards of this life. Help him to anticipate with great eagerness the glorious inheritance that is already his and not to get caught up in the quest to fill his life with stuff. Would You create within him a great love for eternal things – specifically a love for people and a love for Your Word.

And Father, would you use his family to strengthen him for the journey. Thank you for the mom and dad and brothers he has been blessed with. May their family be used mightily in the generations to come to influence the nations for the gospel.

2015 Christmas Letter

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Shalom, Greetings from Durham, and Merry Christmas,

We hope that all is well in your world and that it is well with your soul. In case you are interested at all in what has gone on in the life of the Reyners in 2015 then here is somewhat of a summary.

For Linda and I it has been a rather uneventful year for the most part. At 57 years of age this is not a bad thing to say. No dramatic health issues, no deaths in our family, no crises that we have had to work through. We consider ourselves blessed beyond measure. Some of the 2015 blessings include: 1) the birth of our 2nd grandson (see C and C below), 2) Jobs that are stable and enjoyable and rewarding, 3) A great church community to grow and worship and serve in, 4) The opportunity to go to Poland as a part of a church mission trip and minister to many of our Southern Baptist missionaries and their families, 5) The chance to travel following said trip to Amsterdam, Brussels, Normandy, and Paris with good friends, 6) The joy of living in Durham NC with all its great restaurants and cultural opportunities.

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Screen shot 2015-12-04 at 11.48.46 AMChristy and Chad – They are still living in Clemson, SC where Chad serves as the Director of Missions and Small Groups at Crosspoint Church. Christy works 120 hours/week as a stay at home mom – her dream job. They love their community and the Upper State. They welcomed their 2nd child into the world in January. Bowen John is now 11 months and on the verge of walking. He loves playing with his big brother and destroying anything that G builds. Grayson just turned 3 years old. He loves to read and play basketball and root for his Tiger paws (The Clemson Tigers who incidentally are having a pretty good year.) he also loves “Chick-a-lay” just like his Pop Pop.

Screen shot 2015-12-04 at 11.38.29 AMScott and Mary – Living in Durham. We love having them in the same town with us and we frequently get together for a meal. They celebrated their first anniversary in November. Mary works as an Occupational Therapist at Duke Regional and Scott teaches 7th grade Math at a middle school, works part-time in the Kid’s Ministry at Summit Church and does contract work for pastors who need help with sermon prep. They lead a small group at their church and enjoy the faith community that they are a part of.

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Tucker and Danielle – Living in Wilmington, NC. Danielle works at an Eye Center as an assistant to one of the doctors. Tucker is a full time student at Southeastern Seminary, works an almost a full time schedule at Port City Java Coffee Shop. and works part time at The Bridge Church overseeing their Guest Services. They also lead a Community Group and enjoy having people in their home each week where they can share their loveable pups Charlie and Bodie with others


Much grace and peace,

Shay and Linda



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(Here is a pdf version of the post – 2015XmasLetter)


A Prayer for Bowen

Bowen John Ferrell
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
7 pounds, 15 ounces
22 inches long

“May the God of hope fill you will all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13 NIV)

Bowen1Father, I am very grateful for the gift of this healthy little boy that I have the privilege of being “Pop Pop” to. I want to ask that even now you would begin the process of drawing him to Yourself. Use Chad and Christy to model a vibrant faith for him. Use Grayson as a loving brother to show him the love of Christ. Put friends around him in the years to come who pursue holiness. Use his pastor and his church to teach him and encourage him to seek You. And may his heart be hungry for the transforming gospel as it is preached and presented to him along the way.

And as he learns to trust You, would You fill him with Your joy. May Your joy indeed be his strength to live courageously, to walk humbly, and to fight sin tenaciously.

Also I ask that You would fuel him daily with Your peace. May he experience a contentment in You that can only come from a deep awareness of the “peace that surpasses all understanding” that is only found in You.

As he grows into a man may his life exude a living hope because he has experienced a resurrection from death to life. And may he be used to help others find this great and glorious hope as well. May his life give testimony through his actions and his words that Jesus is the only temporal and eternal hope for all peoples.

And finally would You empower him by Your Spirit. Empower him with compassion for others. Empower him with a faith that inspires others. Empower him with kindness and gentleness. Empower him with a gladness that makes his soul sing and his heart worship.

I ask this because You have told me to ask and I do so in the matchless name of Christ the Lord.

Reyner Christmas Letter

December 2014

(written by guest blogger Linda Reyner)

Grateful!  What a great year we have experienced as we have watched major transitions for each of our children.

CC Chad & Christy: In May, as the possibility for church planting did not work out, the church where Chad was doing his internship offered him a position on staff. He now serves Crosspoint Community Church in Clemson, SC as the Discipleship and Missions pastor. They bought their first house in June and moved in August. They are also expecting our second grandson in January!! Grateful they are only about 5 hours away at this point!

ScottMary Scott & Mary: They became engaged in July and were married on November 23! We had a wonderful weekend celebrating them and what the Lord has done! Thankful Shay has been able to marry all 3 of our kids! Scott is teaching 7th grade math and working part-time in the kid’s ministry of Summit Church. Mary is an Occupational Therapist at Duke Regional Hospital and they are living in downtown Durham! Grateful they are close by! #emptynestersagain

TDTucker & Danielle: Last spring they decided to move to Wilmington to be part of a new church plant.   They moved in June, found jobs in July and August (yes, that stretched this mom’s faith!), and are settled in now.   Tucker just finished his 3rd semester at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary – he is taking most of his classes online while working in a coffee shop in Wilmington. Danielle is working in a doctor’s office and they are involved with The Bridge Church.  Grateful they have jobs!

John expresses my heart exactly: (3 John 4) I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. With so many comments about pastor’s kids, we are grateful that all of our kids and their spouses are walking with the Lord and serving him through the local church. Shay was asked recently what will have made him happy when he is 80 – and quickly his answer was having left a legacy. #Hegetstheglory #GRATEFUL #blessedbyall6ofthem

The Matterhorn
The Matterhorn

This was a memorable year for Shay and I also. Shay has now been in ministry for about 31 years out of our 33 years of marriage. He got his first sabbatical this past summer!!!   GRATEFUL!!! We have actually been talking and planning this for several years. We left in June and traveled Italy for 3 weeks and Switzerland for 1 week. We came home and left 5 days later for a family week at Sunset Beach (with my sisters and their families too)– clearly needed a vacation to recover from the vacation! So many memories (ask me about the Matterhorn and the lessons I learned on top of the mountain!) –such an amazing trip.   We met friends in 3 cities, Shay’s wallet was stolen on day 1, and we walked and ate A LOT! Would I go back or do it again – ABSOLUTELY!   Before we were married, Shay promised to take me to Zermatt, Switzerland – one of his most favorite places. It just took 34 years for him to keep that promise – and through the rain of those days and the mountain-top encounter with the Lord it has become one of my favorites too (and one of the most amazing pastries I have ever eaten, maybe worth a trip back just to get one of those )   #ifitrainsinZermattteatpastries     (really GRATEFUL Shay’s kidney stone attack came after we returned – he had surgery in August and is doing well now!)

GGRAYSON: Can’t even begin to describe the joy he is. Yes, grandparents are really obnoxious and I didn’t understand that until he was born. He just turned 2 and is a delight. He fills our hearts and lives with so many things we didn’t even realize we were missing. Anticipating #2 in January and all he will add to our lives.   #loveeveryminutewithhim

Shay and I continue with our same positions: Shay is Discipleship Pastor and I am a middle school counselor.   Grateful for our jobs and the place the Lord has us right now.

Grateful most of all that in the 1970’s the Lord called us both from darkness into His light and allows us to be called His children. We celebrate Him this season and each day.


Much love,

Linda and Shay

reyner fam3

2012 Christmas Letter

(Each year we try to write a Christmas letter as a way of reflecting on the past year. Here is this year’s letter – written by Linda)

December 2012

What a difference a year makes!  We are so thankful to be celebrating this season and have much to reflect on this year.  If you have a great memory, you will realize that we did not send any correspondence last year.  We had a great trip planned for the holidays and were going to send greetings when we returned.  The trip did not go as planned and here we are a year later –but with so much to be thankful for.

Grayson5WE ARE GRANDPARENTS!!  Grayson Scott Ferrell arrived on November 17th –  10 days late, 29 hours of labor but 8 lb. 2 oz of pure love!   We are loving watching him grow and change.

Tucker is engaged!  He is a senior at NC State, will graduate in May and then is planning to marry his fiance, Danielle, soon after.  He became engaged the same day Grayson was born!  Tucker is planning to go to Southeastern Seminary next year.  He is currently interning at a local church.

LIFE – We are so grateful for the life we have been given and the life we experience in Christ.  He came to rescue and redeem us – and give us life abundantly.

Christy and Chad left in June 2011 to serve in central India for 14 months, training church leaders and working with Southern Baptist missionaries.  We planned to visit them over the holidays – spending several days with them experiencing life in their town and then we were going to spend the holidays with them in Thailand.  Scott and Tucker were also able to go.

AccidentShortly after arriving, Shay, Christy, and I were involved in a scooter accident.  If you want the details of that event, go to Christy’s blog:  chadandchristy.blogspot.com.   (It is her most read blog!)  Shay has several great reflections on his blog also. (sreyner.blogspot.com – Jan 2012).

As we approach the one year anniversary of the accident, we are so thankful for healing.  I finished physical therapy in April and began to run again consistently this summer (much sooner than I had been told I would).   I have 4 plates in my face, a temporary tooth, and nerves still regenerating in my face and leg – but there have been so many miracles surrounding the entire ordeal.  We are grateful and overwhelmed at the protection and presence of the Lord through it all.  Christy’s eye has healed completely and Shay’s ear looks normal (unless you look for the scar!)  His back is fairly tender at times and he has to be careful.

Chad and Christy are temporarily living with us (yes, that means we get to see Grayson daily!!) while they search for their next position.  After their experience in India, Chad would like to be involved in planting a church.  Scott has also lived with us for the last 1-1/2 years as he completes his seminary degree. (He was a wonderful help last winter when I couldn’t walk or drive!)  He is also seeking where the Lord would have him as he has only one class remaining on his degree.   So our home is full once again and we love it!  We are so thankful for this house the Lord led us to 3 years ago.

Our church has experienced changes over the past year and Shay is now the Pastor of Discipleship Ministries.  He is enjoying those responsibilities!  He blogs weekly and is enjoying having Scott and Chad around to play disc golf!   I am still a counselor at the middle school- I only missed 4 days after the Christmas break due to the accident.  I went back to work and even taught my classroom sessions seated on my walker!

We continue to be in the season of life where there are many changes for our children – but we are loving the relationships we have with them and have been so blessed by the ways they have all served us during the last year.

As we reflect on this year –  it’s one of those times we would have never asked for but the Lord continues to use for good in our lives.   We are so very grateful for family and friends (we were incredibly blessed by your prayers and gifts of food following the accident), for the gift of our grandson, for the anticipation of a wedding, but mostly for Jesus as we celebrate the Incarnation – God taking on flesh that He might take our place on a cross so that we might have life.

Merry Christmas,

Shay and Linda


On Being A Granddad

So I am now 3+ weeks into this granddad thing and thought I’d write a little about my experience thus far. I’m still new at this so bear with me as I have about 7 things I want to briefly think out loud about. Grayson3

1) On my Granddads – I really did not know my granddads at all. My Dad’s dad died before I was born. I’m thinking he was somewhere around 57 years old. My Mom’s dad died when I around 4 years old so I only have vague memories of him. I’m thinking he was also around 57 or so. All that to say that I find myself becoming selfish. In my early 30’s after my kids had been born, and knowing my family history (my Dad also died at 42), I began praying that the Lord would give me 50 years so that I could at least see my own kids grow up and I could invest in them while they were still in our home. So now that 50 has come and gone (I’m 54) I find myself thanking God for the years he has given me but also praying now that I’ll have 25 more years so that I can invest in my grand-kids. I’d kind of like Grayson and others that may follow to know me.

Grayson52) On waiting for the birth – Christy was in labor for about 29 hours. I was at the hospital for 14 of those. Not sure who had the harder time waiting – especially after she had her epidural. Okay, I know that it was harder for her but I am not good at just sitting and waiting. And it’s really tough on a dad knowing what his favorite daughter is going through and wanting to protect her and make sure that everything is okay. But not much I could do. So Art and Cindy (Chad’s folks) and I hung out in the waiting room together. Mostly I watched other people. Sometimes I read. I even napped a bit. But mostly I just sat… and waited.

Grayson73) On the miracle of birth – 3:30 am November 17, 2012 is the official time of birth. Pretty amazing to think about all that has to happen for a baby to be born. It  just seems that there is so much that could go wrong in the process that I am astounded that much more often than not nothing does go wrong. Can you imagine what a baby must think as he goes from a nice cozy, warm, dark, quiet home and is literally pushed out into this cold crazy, noisy, bright  world. No wonder they cry. Grayson was born with a little hitch in his cry – no big deal just needed to get his lungs cleared out. New birth is an amazing thing. But we’ll get to that later.

4) On choosing a granddad name – Evidently it is not in my power to choose what my grand-kids will call me. I came up with a bunch of suggestions that my daughter has exercised her veto power on. What’s not to like about about Saba (Hebrew) or Zeyde (Yiddish) – both of which I thought would honor my Jewish heritage. So my next 2 choices are Pop Pop (which was my fraternal grandfather’s name) or Pops. Both are still on the table, but it may not matter – or so I am told. It may come down to whatever Grayson decides to call me. Who knew that it was up to a kid that can’t even talk?

5) On a “full house” – Christy and Chad came back from India in August and because they did not know “what next” they have been living with us until that piece of the puzzle is figured out. We have somewhat of an upstairs apartment that gives them lots of privacy but gives us lots of time with them. It has been a real treat to have them here since Grayson’s birth and to get to spend bonus time with him, knowing that it may not be long before he is not even living in the same town as we are. I’m already missing him. I’ll probably miss Christy and Chad too, but I’ve been led to believe that once grand-kids come along the kids have to take a back seat.

Grayson26) On original sin, new birth, and the gospel – So one of the things that I’ve enjoyed doing is just sitting on the sofa with Grayson in my lap. Such a cute,  content little guy. I have to keep reminding myself that this cute little boy is also a cute little sinner. That just as he inherited his stunning good looks from my side of the family, he also has inherited a sin nature that will be reason enough to destin him for hell. In biblical terms it’s called the doctrine of original sin. It doesn’t take take long for our sin natures to manifest themselves. People look at little babies and say “isn’t he just a perfect little thing.” Far from it. And he will venture far from God unless he experiences new birth. The penalty for having a sin nature is death. The remedy is to be born not just physically but spiritually. Or to say it like Jesus said it, “You must be born again.” Hence Grayson’s need to hear the gospel and to see it lived out by his parents and his grandparents and the community of believers he grows up with. With this in mind I go on to #7.

7) On praying for Grayson – Soon after Grayson was born our families gathered together in the delivery room and prayed for this little guy. he had already been the subject of countless prayers preceding his birth and will be the benefactor of countless more prayers throughout his life. Later that same day I sat down and wrote out a prayer for my grandson that expressed what we have been praying and will continue to do in the years to come…


Thank you for your grace expressed to me and to my family everyday. And today I want to say thank you again for the extraordinary gift of grace that you have given us through the birth of Grayson. Thank you for your protection for he and Christy through the pregnancy, and through the labor and delivery.

And now as begins his life I want to ask that as he grows up that You would strengthen him with power through Your Spirit in his inner being so that Christ may dwell in his heart through faith. Father, even today on his BIRTHday, would You prepare his heart to believe the transforming word of the gospel. Would You call him to be your child, adopt him as Your son, make him an heir of Your grace.

And I pray that as he responds to You and Your gracious invitation to Life, that You would root him and establish him in the incomparable love of Christ – that You would empower him along with all the saints to grasp just how wide and long and high and deep is the love of our all Sufficient Savior, and to know this all surpassing love in such a way that he is filled to the measure of all of Your fullness.

Father, would you use this little boy to be a mighty instrument of grace to a world that is lost and full of despair. Use him to bring hope to people who feel hopeless. Use him to bring joy to people who live in the depths of sorrow. Use him to bring the gospel to people who are bound for an eternity separated from You.

Use Chad and Christy to model for him what it means to know You and to find his life in You. Use them to teach him grace and truth rightly apportioned. Use them to nurture him and to invest Your Word in his life. And may Your Word bear fruit in his life that is immeasurably more than we could ever ask or imagine.

All this I pray in the name of the One who gave His life for me, Your glorious Son, my Lord and Savior Jesus.

(written November 17, 2012)


A Dad and His Daughter

A quarter of a century. That sort of sounds like a long time. But for those of us on the plus side of 50, we know that it is the blink of an eye. 25 years ago today my daughter made her first appearance into this world. And the world has been a better place ever since then. Especially my world! I cannot even begin to tell you how wonderful my daughter is and how blessed I am to be her dad. She is an absolute joy. A treasure to my heart! A few things you may not know about her:

  • When she was just a few months old she got dropped on her head and was concussed. Scared her mom and dad a bunch.
  • At some point in her younger years she was into horses, The Backstreet Boys, beanie babies, and soccer.
  • She and I were involved with the YMCA program called Indian Princess’ for 3 years, Her name was Little Rainbow and I was Swift Buffalo.
  • She was a cheerleader for one year – the 7th grade.
  • She can quote every episode of ‘Friends’ by heart.
  • Her husband is the only man she has kissed.
  • She has taught 2nd grade for 3 years and been recognized as Teacher of the Year.
  • She went to Appalachian State and led the football team to 3 national championships while she was there.
  • She has always loved missions and has taken short term trips to Bolivia, Peru, Jamaica, Haiti, Botswana, China, India, Alaska, and Slovakia.
  • She and her husband leave for India in June. They will be there for 14 months working with our IMB partners – doing training with Indian believers and discipling teams that are working there.

I have been asked if it bothers me that she will be so far away from us and the answer is an easy one. This is what we raised her to do. This is what she loves. She and Chad eagerly anticipate serving the Lord oversees for a year+ and then seeing where the Lord directs them. With Skype and e-mail it just won’t be that hard to stay connected. And I figure it gives us a place to go where we can visit them. Yes we will miss them but we are excited for them at the same time.

So Christy, just want to say Happy 25th Birthday. It has been a thrill to be your dad and a pleasure to watch you grow into a delightful, joy-filled, God-fearing, missions-loving young woman. I am very proud of you and look forward to watching your God-story unfold in the years to come. I love you!

So here are a few pictures of a dad and his daughter through the years.

February 14, 1981 Revisited

30 years ago today I wrote my fiancee a “love letter” based on 1 Corinthians 13. We were still a little more than 5 months away from our wedding day. I’m still learning to love but I am very proud to say that this 30+ year love adventure that my bride and I have been on is one that I would excitedly do all over again. In fact, it just keeps getting better. Here’s what I wrote then and what I still mean now.

Love is patient:

This is the one thing I’m being forced to learn as the Lord takes this time to prepare us for each other and for Himself. It’s been said that anything worth having is worth waiting for. You, my love, will be well worth the wait though I long to be with you now every minute of every day.

Love is kind:

This is something the Lord must teach me – not just an everyday kindness which makes me seem like a kind person, but an out of the way kindness which can only spring from love. I would hope that as we grow together I would love you more and more in a kind way – sensitive to every need, passion, and affection.

Love does not envy:

On the basis of this definition I would have to say that I don’t know how to love. Envy oft overwhelms me; whether I am envious of looks, intelligence, athletic ability, spirituality, leadership qualities, degree of worldly success, or whatever – it does not and cannot stem from love. I would pray that we would look to the Lord to meet all our needs and not look at the worldly standard of living which is quite lacking in manifest love.

Love does not boast:

With each definition it is getting tougher and tougher to love. “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast about this: that he knows and understands me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice, and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight.” I wonder if it’s ok for me to boast about how much I love you?

Love is not proud:

Another stumbling block. Pride bites at our heel in everything we accomplish. There is always that tendency to say, “Look what I’ve done!” I pray that as our life together is a testimony to the love of Jesus that the world might see our good deeds and praise our Father in heaven.

Love always protects:

I already feel very protective of you. Perhaps the only way I can protect you now is in my prayers – but I look forward to loving you into security, safety, and soundness of mind, soul, and body.

Love always trusts:

No doubt this is crucial to a marriage relationship. I hope you will always trust me to do what’s best for us. At least you can always trust that I love you more than anybody else in the world and that my love is always there to lift you up and carry you into glory.

Love always hopes:

I have so many hopes, dreams, and aspirations for us. I pray that God would give us hopes and dreams that would shake us from our apathy and complacency and settle us into the fellowship of faith that always reaches out to others in love.

Love always perseveres:

No matter what we go through in our pilgrimage I will always be at your side to sustain you and to be sustained by you. Let us keep our eyes on the cross for the sheer joy set before us and continue to pursue a love which will surely bring glory, honor, and praise to the Lord.

Love never fails:

I may fail but my love for you will never fail. You have given me so much joy that I am always motivated to love you more and more. And there is so much about you to love that I could never love you too much. But God knows I will try.

The love that I have waited for
The love I’ve never known before;
The love that gives me so much joy
I don’t know what to do.
The love that moves my heart to sing
The love that only you could bring;
The love that means the most to me
Is all because of you.

I love you Linda,

February 14, 1981