Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, "It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word." And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them. ~ Acts 6:1-6
Peg and I joined His Place Church about 2003. God has blessed us with such a wonderful staff and family. We are eternally grateful.
I am writing this as I look over the Salmon River with the beautiful February sun shining on it. It provided an ideal background to reflect on my life, family, purpose, creation and Creator. It has taken me more than two years to write this, so I am late, but God's timing is always perfect.
Everything about God is perfect. He is not safe, but we are secure in Him and His goodness. Looking back on my life, God was involved with me in the days and years that I acknowledged Him and the days and years that I rejected Him.
Born in California, our parents moved my older sister and I to Prescott, AZ, when I was 12. At 14, I was pretty much done with following God. Didn't quit believing, just quit knowing Him. At 19, I met this cute little gal and a few short months later we were married, with our first son following closely. That was 1988. 2 years later our 2nd son was born. This introduced us to cleft lip and pallet and many surgeries followed. His care was performed at a clinic in Phoenix, which also treated almost all forms of special needs children. Some were small and repairable, like our, others were severe and permanent. That exposure made us very grateful to have a child with only a cleft.
In 1992, we loaded up a small U-Haul with our 4 year old & 2 year old boys and our black lab and drove north to either Montana or Idaho. No specific destination, and ended up in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.
More years of living away from God and living for ourselves followed. These brought incredible pain and unneeded suffering because of selfishness. Remember how God is good? That pain brought us to God, and in God we both found life, forgiveness and grace, strength and healing.
It has been 23 years since we both gave our lives to Christ, and we love Him more now than ever. He has led us to add three more to our family. This time through adoption and this time they were girls. I used to wonder if children by birth or by adoption were any different. They aren't. We love all of them and each one has touched us and blessed us. Sadly, we lost our middle daughter. That is a whole story in itself. It was a trying time. The pain and struggles that brought us really put our faith to the test. Did we just have a "faith", or did we know a living God who truly does exist and lives in us? And if He exists, can He handle, and will He allow us to be angry and confused and to question Him? The answer is YES.
My wife is a blessing. We have been married 31 years now and she lifts me up and encourages me every day. She is my helper. Just as God said to Adam, "It is not good for him to be alone. I will make a suitable helper for him." And indeed, He did. Her name is Connie and I do love her. Without her I would not be the man I am today. Serving Christ is my desire, I do not feel that I do it well. I thank Him for His grace.
To contact Gary firstname.lastname@example.org