As I write this update, I am preparing to head up to Valentine, Nebraska, for the Saturday homecoming celebration of Sue Turner, the wife of longtime friend, Lawrence Turner. Following the funeral, on Sunday and Monday, I plan to spend some time with David Martinez and his church in Norfolk, Nebraska. David is a catalytic church planter of Hispanic churches in Nebraska and is recruiting pastors and leaders to start churches all over Nebraska. Currently there are about 5 of these, and more are coming.
As I get my bags packed, I want to say thanks for your continued support in helping Bill and me continue to move about the country. This year our travel budget has about doubled on stateside travel as we respond to help our friends use the Play. Story. Eat. process in their ministry contexts. So thanks in advance for helping us!
Today I want to highlight Barb Cates’ story. When Barb’s husband, Dick, worked for Cardinal Health, he looked like he was in perfect health. Having been a semi-pro catcher in his younger years and a weightlifting enthusiast, Dick was a powerful man. But due to a snafu when Dick was saving a patient by holding a leaking artery, a surgeon accidentally cut into Dick’s finger while working on an infected Hepatitis patient, Dick’s career was over and his health radically changed. Today, while Dick’s Hepatitis is cured, he now deals with the deteriorating effects of Parkinson’s disease. Last year Barb retired from her full-time job as a high school teacher and is caring for Dick at home as they have had to adjust to their new reality.
During the past couple of years, they have opened their home to a Play. Story. Eat. group. And despite the curve-balls that life has thrown them, they have found that they can minister to others even though they can’t get out as much.
I’ll let Barb tell you a bit of this in her own words…
My husband and I have received many blessings in our walks with Jesus Christ over the years. We have learned, prayed, and served alongside some wonderful fellow Christians. We have engaged in Sunday School classes, prayer groups, and prayer partnerships in hopes of connecting in meaningful ways with others as well as enriching ourselves. Often though, our interactions with others have remained on a comfortable surface level of interaction without delving into a deeper level. We have engulfed ourselves in the business of church life and the social pleasantries that go with it without meeting some deeper needs.
Five years ago a fellow church member, Bill Burrows, decided to get to know and befriend my husband, Dick. They began walking a park trail once a week and talked as they walked. Eventually the weekly visits were conducted in our home, and I was able to join them after my retirement. Over the years, Dick and I have been able to share with Bill the difficulties of transitioning into retirement and confronting the increasing debilitation of Dick’s Parkinson’s disease.
Using the process of Play. Story. Eat., we have been able to open up and address these needs of intimacy with the Lord. Weekly we share our blessings and concerns. We focus on one command in scripture and relate it to our lives, and we commit to obeying the Word in real ways for the next week. This process has allowed us to develop meaningful friendships with others. Though our range of influence may have decreased because of our circumstances, we have been able to find new ways to be a vital part of the Lord’s kingdom. Play. Story. Eat. has helped us to live more genuine Christian lives.
A couple of weeks ago, Barb shared her PSE story with her Sunday School class and is looking to share with others how doable the process can be for people like her and Dick. In the past year, several other groups have started naturally out of the consistent witness of Barb, Dick, and others in the group. We pray that God will continue to use them in a great way!
10:02 PRAYER (LUKE 10:2)
Pray for Lawrence Turner and his family as they mourn the passing of Sue. I’d also appreciate your prayers for me as I travel to visit David Martinez and his heroic friends starting Hispanic churches in Nebraska. And please lift up Barb and Dick Cates—praying especially for strength for them as they continue to love and serve the Lord in this era of their lives.
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Talk to you soon!