OK, I'm all rested and feel so much better than last night, so will write about our last worship and fellowship time with the Amazon.com workampers at Walter Johnson and Heritage parks.
Saturday was so windy again with gusts up to 45 maybe 50 mph. The Quantum was rocking like a boat on choppy water. We did get everything packed up and ready for travel, though. Don was concerned about getting air in all the tires. You know, it sure is hard to find a place with an air compressor, especially on Sunday. There was a tire & lube place pretty close by, but they were closed Saturday afternoon and Sunday.
So Sunday dawned, windy again. We got ready for church and then Don heard something outside. Our neighbor was out with his air compressor and wanted to know if Don needed air in our tires before we traveled? Our neighbor isn't even leaving until next weekend, but God moved him to get out his air compressor and help us out. We were so grateful. It's "God times" like that confirms to us that God is with us all the time and taking care of us.. just in case we ever wondered. Thank you, Terry.
So we headed for church with joy in our hearts. A lot of folks have already left, but we had a new couple, Lori & Norm. He retired from Chrysler on Nov. 30 (offered early retirement at 51) and started at Amazon.com on Nov. 30. Poor guy didn't even get to take a break. We first met them last Friday when they picked up their checks and they were excited to hear about our worship service over at the rec center and promised to be there. Lori even help lead the song service along with Jerry. We sang Christmas songs and had a wonderful time of worship. Lori has a beautiful voice!This is Dave. He's big Buddy's, a yellow lab, owner. We've been friends with Dave the whole time we've been here, but today was the first time he came to church. We were delighted to see him. Reta and Richard come when she feels good enough. Poor gal backed over a crate at Amazon, fell backwards and sustained a whoppin' concussion, so she's been dealing with vertigo regularly. (apologizing for the slight blur... no pun intended, Reta. LOL) John & Judy Long arrived and Judy placed this beautiful Swarovski crystals bracelet, that she made, in my hand when I hugged her. Thank you, Judy, I love it! Here's the whole group. Tom and Kathy (next to me in red) did a sneaky thing. They brought a basket and somehow got word to everyone there that it was for collecting a Christmas offering for the pastor and his wife with a Christmas card for everyone to sign. Each one wrote us a very encouraging note and Don and I were moved to tears. But I'm getting ahead of myself in the progression of events.
After our time of prayer and praise and singing, Don preached the sermon "Love Divine" with Luke 2:8-14 (hyper-linked) text.
Don began with the question "Is it alright for Christians to celebrate Christmas?" His research revealed that the winter celebration was originally a pagan holiday in most parts of the world.
"In the western world the birthday of Jesus Christ has been celebrated on December 25th since AD 354, partly to replace the pagan worship that was commonplace in those days. However, we can be fairly sure that Jesus wasn't actually born on that date." ... from the website The History of Christmas.
It's fascinating research, but to bring it to today, what does Christmas mean to...
the young mother, whose husband has died leaving her with three small children (despair);
the eighty year old man in a dirt floor hut in Africa(loneliness);
the thousands of orphans around the world(longing and disappointment);
the missionaries away from their families(aching hearts);
the merchants(money, money, money);
the employees(yeah! Christmas bonus!);
the teenagers and young adults of today (party, party, party);
the small children (what did Santa bring me?!?).
Do we miss the point of Christmas?
Christmas means reaching out to others, no matter what our circumstances, just as Jesus Christ reached out to us, with Love Divine.
Who did Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God, reach out to first? The lowly shepherds. Why? Probably because of their prayers and faith as they longed for their Messiah.
In Don's reflection of God's Love Divine, he made three observations:
1. God knows you. You are important to Him. No one is insignificant to God and God uses the ones who the world considered insignificant to do the most good in the world. Think about it: Joseph, the youngest and most unloved by his eleven brothers; the other Joseph, a young carpenter who became the step-father of the Savior; the young woman from Bethlehem who was chosen to be His mother; the little boy who Jesus chose to help Him feed five thousand with two fish and five loaves of bread; and Jesus Himself who was born in a cave surrounded by livestock, instead of in a palace by great doctors.
2. Your life matters to God. God has created you to be used in the life of others. Have you ever said, "I'm not going to church today, no one will miss me." God will. We influence others every day and we can choose whether it's good or bad influence.
3. Just like the shepherds on the night Jesus was born, your faith matters. Faith moves mountains. Read and study God's Word, fellowship with other believers, and build your faith. Don't ever let it be your faith that fails you... or someone else who could benefit from your strong faith.
It was a tremendous word from the Lord, today and a few were obviously moved.
After Don's closing prayer, Jerry stood up and testified of God's Love Divine in his life and voiced emotional gratitude to the Lord for providing a place to worship with those he works with, stating what a difference it makes in your attitudes at work when you have worshipped with some of your fellow workers. Then, Tom stepped forward with the Love Offering basket and presented it to Don and I as the whole group circled around us and Jerry voiced a prayer for us. Our cups runneth over (and so did our eyes). What a blessing of encouragement the WJP Fellowship group has been to us and we now have no doubt that we have been an encouragement to them. Glory to God in the highest.
Well, we head on back over to the Quantum, back the truck under it and begin the hooking up process. Sometime during this process, Margie
snook sneaked over and left a gift bag tied to our door. She had given Don a pecan pie, so this gift was for me... like I didn't eat any of the pecan pie. Riiiiight. Thank you, Margie, for the lovely gift and thank you more for your love and the enrichment you have brought to our lives. Wish we could have spent more time together. [The first Christmas decoration for the Quantum!] Before 12:00 noon, we were pulling out of Walter Johnson Park. And good-bye to our friends at Heritage Park who haven't left yet. We noticed that it was 71 degrees when we left Coffeyville. That will be an interesting fact later on in the day.
This last picture of Coffeyville kind of sums up this industrial community with a kind of romance all it's own as the churches, government and inhabitants of this flood ravaged town work together to rebuild their home. The railroad: another part of Coffeyville where engine whistles and clanging cars can be heard all hours of the day and night. What Snookie calls a "going down the road" picture.Notice the flags whipping in the winds that we are driving into. But we had no problems, praise the Lord, and were soon approaching Tulsa, our destination: Mingo RV Park. It's close to the Tulsa Airport. The entrance to today's destination. The office. There was a menagerie of taxidermy inside the office. The Chief overseeing all the wildlife. The girl in the office told us about the "dead tree carving" in the middle of the park. DEAD TREE?! It seems there's a chainsaw artist in town who has carved sculptures in a lot of the big old trees that were victims of the last ice storm. This is amazing. Notice the blue sky and fluffy clouds. I'm in my shirt sleeves taking these pictures. It's 74 degrees in Tulsa.
By 1:30 PM we were parked and hooked up. Just a bit later, Stephanie came to pick us up as they had a family trip planned to Dry Gulch, U.S.A. to ride the Christmas Train. The website is hyper-linked for your convenience. We didn't leave for the train ride until about 5:30 PM. In the mean time, we visited with Stephanie and family. The "boys & girls" re-visited a skit their choir did the night before, just for us. Kristina, an angel. (that's a toilet paper halo... well, it was, but her halo fell slightly.. use your imagination for Pete's sake). Madison, the narrator: Enter the Three Wise Guys: Dillon, Taylor & Rick. It was hilarious.
Madison just turned 14 on the 5th. Here's the cutie with Rudy. Taylor, not camera shy and you know, I love that. We gave our Christmas cards (with a few $$) to the kids. Logan hugging his daddy's knee. Kristina giving Poppa Don a hug. Logan reading a book to Poppa Don. There house is all festive with Christmas trees and decorations. OK, Rick is coming to get us to go over to their house for dinner and spend the night, since we are "iced in" here in Tulsa. Will tell you about the Christmas Train experience at a later time.
Please say a prayer for Buddy, Richard, Abby and all those who are dealing with illness and surgery. Also, for the RV'ers traveling.
Blessings to all.