Good Afternoon!

If you’re getting this email earlier than expected, it’s because in a few hours Tony and I will be on a plane leaving America and headed for Ireland. In the hope of getting this away before we leave the internet, I’m going to try and send it right away.

So Tony mentioned that last week that by talking about the “Band of Brothers” experience of spending the week with the retired ancients in our mission, I may have inadvertently left you, my loyal readers, out of the picture.

I had to agree… Now I need to talk about YOU!

Last Saturday as we were walking through North Carolina’s Ridgecrest Baptist encampment, I mentioned to one of my friends that I had to mail out the blog, because if “Texas woke up at 6AM Sunday and it wasn’t there, they’d be stressed”.

That friend was evidently one of those dear people I mentioned last week who sometime regard me with a mixture of patience and pity. I got one of her looks just then, as if to say, “Seriously, do you really think they care?”

But somehow I feel that you do.  Care, I mean.  I have no way of knowing how many of you actually read my blog, but I do get enough comments to know that some do, and based on that, I’d like to suggest a new category with just YOU in mind.

Let’s call it “Community”.  I don’t know all of you, and many of you don’t really know me, but thru Christ, we are ‘neighbors’, and much, much more.

I know that you make my life more rosy, knowing that you’re there………and that you care. Sometimes I even feel you watching over my shoulder, clicking your teeth in warning, saying. “Watch out there, you don’t want to have to have another online confession ”.

As I write this, we are finishing up the 44th Anniversary Journeymen reunion that brought us down to this part of Florida yesterday. Many of the attendees were also with us last week at Ridgecrest, having completed their Journeyman tour (two years of short term missions) and going on into career missions like we did. But about forty others in our group went on into secular careers and except for the occasional reunion we’ve had no contact with them.

It’s been a bittersweet experience, learning how their lives have turned out. Some have died, some are dying now of cancer. Some have lost husbands and wives, children and abilities. In many ways, those folks are a little like you, my precious readers. I don’t know some of them, as some of them married into the group later. Others I had no idea about, since we’ve had no regular contact over the years.

But one thing we all share together, just as I hope and pray I share with you: we’ve put our trust in the One Who made us. The kinds of things they.. and you… have experienced in a lifetime are common to anyone, anywhere. Certainly as God’s children, we have no exclusive right to the thuds and thrills that come with living. But the thing that sets us apart and makes us this “Band of Brothers” is the faith that knows that this life is not all there is.

Like the “dew on the grass” that’s gone before you know it (Isaiah 26:19), our lives are lived in joy and pain, grief and glory, but that will all soon be a thing of the past, leaving just …. us! with an eternity to experience together and a loving Father Who has been a part of it all since before we were born.

And so I thank you for listening as I often think out loud……living my life under your gaze and feeling that somehow we share our lives in the process.

As I mentioned above, if you’re reading this now, it means that the internet worked and we’re off to bonny Ireland.  A recent DNA test says I’m 27% Irish and Tony’s 7% with a twist of Olde English. Who knows? We may hop off the plane and break into a jig.

And then last Friday, just to add a sweet little topping to our week’s adventure, we popped into the museum that tells about the making of the “Jesus Film.”  Long after the crowd left the tour we were still talking to our lovely guide, who happened to be from…….you guessed it, Ireland.  Her 85-year-old father lives within a stone’s throw of our first stop on our anticipated “Woods Driving Tour”, so we promised to give him a call when we get there. She was delighted and told us that her father “loves to tell stories”…..I wonder who you’re thinking of when you read that? (Buddy?)  Do stay tuned!

And so, young reader, please look on us old folks with a measure of appreciation for what we have to offer, knowing that all too soon it will be your turn to do the offering. To those “more experienced” among us, enjoy the fellowship we have, knowing that it’s just a foretaste of what lies around the corner.

Young or old, I love you all.


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