April 2, 2010...
Our flights to California went smoothly. We even had a layover in Chicago and were able to spend some time with our brother, Matt, his wife, Julie, and their three cute little boys: Timmy, Zach, and Caden. We were so happy to be able to grab a few minutes of time with them while we could.
We arrived late and met Pastor Bill Rench and his wife at the airport. They were bringing our wheels for our stay in California. They allowed us to borrow a church vehicle--the Ole' Jeep. We prayed for sanity as we drove on to San Diego, arriving late at our place of rest for the next few weeks. Rachel Fisher, a friend from days of yore, allowed us to stay at her apartment for awhile. We stepped right into some fellowship tonight, and didn't get to bed until about 2 or 3am West Virginia time. Whew...reminds us of the days long ago when we used to travel with the bus all over California, all ten kids in tow. Lots of time spent fellowshipping...
During our stay with Rachel, we were able to take some time to relax and sight-see and just pretend that we really were on vacation. San Diego is a beautiful area and offers many things to do and see, of which several we partook. We were so thankful that Rachel was kind enough to let us take over her place for a short while.
Sunday, April 4: After some trepidation, we did make it to Gardena (a suburb of L.A.) on Saturday. The Jeep held up and we experienced minor difficulties in L.A. traffic. (I remember people doing 80-90 mph around us as our caravan--a bus, van, and motorhome--tried to keep up years ago!) Easter Sunday was a great day as we ministered to the Bible Baptist Church. Pastor Scott Kirkland and family took us to eat at Marie Callendar's for lunch and then we went back to our hotel for a nap. Joanna and I awoke to an earthquake this afternoon...during which Monica soundly slept. It was quite the experience. Even though we have been to CA numerous times, I had never felt a quake and so was rather interested to find out that the rocking of the bed and slight dizzy feeling when I tried to walk afterwards was actually an earthquake! Certainly had something to write home about now.
Wednesday, April 7: We have heard about the Bible Baptist Church in National City. We actually met up with several people in North Carolina and Florida who have gone to Pastor Larry Obero's church in the San Diego area. We were excited to be there ourselves tonight. The choir music was a blessing, the preaching was uplifting, and we were thankful to be able to minister here this evening. We went to eat afterwards with Pastor Obero and his wife and another missionary couple.
Thursday, April 8: We were able to squeeze in a few extra meetings this month during our stay in California, and tonight we were at the Lighthouse Baptist Church in San Diego. Pastor Doug Fisher was unable to be here due to a previously scheduled meeting. We missed seeing him, but it was nice to see the Lighthouse family again. Time has marched on, but they are still going strong for the Lord.
Sunday, April 11: Pastor Bill Rench is an incredible man. He once helped us get into the churches in California, and he has never let us forget it...but we never could. We really are indebted to him, as our ministry seems to have been expanded in that great state and we always enjoy coming here. We were once again with Pastor Rench and Calvary Baptist in Temecula. The church has grown and with it, their buildings. It is amazing to watch a church go on for the Lord and expand both spiritually and physically. We had a great time with the Renches, reliving old memories and making some new ones.
Thursday, April 15: It's not been that long ago that we were at Mountain View Baptist in Hesperia. We sang on a Thursday evening and there was a good spirit. Pastor Ron Webb took good care of us during our stay here. Their church even allowed us to stay several nights instead of one at a nice hotel. We were able to catch up on much needed sleep, get some work done, and recuperate from some sickness. (Of course, that was me...seems the colds never leave me alone.) They even gave us some gift cards to several restaurants...the Starbucks card really made our day!
Sunday, April 18: We made it in Saturday afternoon to Bakersfield after stopping at West Coast Baptist College to take a tour. (Lots of changes there...the last time we sang at Lancaster Baptist was in 1998, and the new auditorium wasn't even built.) Clemencia Limon was the lady that we were to stay with this weekend. She and her husband were great hosts. We had fun trying on all the hats that Clemencia has collected. What a gracious lady.
We sang all day at Faith Baptist today. The church is meeting in a tent, but the spirit is still strong and they responded well. Pastor Joe Grande and Family had us over to their house for dinner and a nap. They are a great family and have a servant's heart.
Wednesday, April 21: Another meeting that was added to our agenda this month was a mid-week service at the West Coast Baptist Church in Vista. This church is near Camp Pendleton and so they have an active ministry to the military, as well as many other ministries. We had a great service and enjoyed fellowshipping with members afterwards. There are some sweet people here.
Thursday-Friday, April 22-23: We were privileged to be at the Ladies Meeting at Faith Baptist Church in Wildomar these two days. It was not our first time to be at Faith, but it was the first time for us to meet Mrs. Jack Schaap. Before services started Thursday evening, we met in a conference room with Pastor and Mrs. Bruce Goddard and the other ladies who were speaking this week to go over the schedule.
Pastor Goddard mentioned that someone had asked him to name a few things that had influenced his church the most. He said one of the influences that helped shape the church was our family coming years ago and singing. The music had set the tone for their young church as they were starting out. I sat in the conference room and could only be in awe at what the Lord had allowed us to do over these many years. It wasn't anything to do with us, but only the fact that He had lead us and kept us in His will.
What a precious time we had at the meeting this week! We sang here and there for different sessions. The second afternoon we were able to sing for the teen girls and encourage them to stay true to the Lord. We also spent some time with a group of them at the California Pizza Kitchen. The pizza was great and memories were made.
Sunday, April 25: We were almost shaking in our boots today as we mounted the platform at the great North Valley Baptist Church in Santa Clara, California. Almost. Everyone kept asking us beforehand if we were nervous about being on the internet live and all. Nah...why should we be? It's not like we haven't been live before. Yet, we still were a tad nervous today. (What an understatement...) Pastor Jack Trieber was ever so kind to us and made us feel right at home. We sang all day and enjoyed some time of fellowship at Outback with some of the staff ladies. We had a great time at North Valley and were blessed to be able to minister there. You can listen to our rather shaky performances at North Valley's website. Just click on the date of the service--April 25.
On our way back home, our schedule allowed us to stop to see a few friends--Sarah Roy and Malinda Benefield--in Morgan Hill at the Shadow Mountain Baptist Church. They took us to San Fran for our flights home. Our hotel in San Fran the night before flying home was quite unsavory, but we put a chair in front of the door, prayed, and fell asleep. And yes, we did make it back to West Virginia safe and sound. Thank the Lord for the opportunity to sing and serve in California during the month of April.
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