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Bon voyage!

Later this afternoon (Friday) my wife Debbie and I will be leaving for our long-anticipated Viking cruise in Europe. I say long anticipated because we originally planned this trip four years ago to correspond to our 40th wedding anniversary in June 2020. Needless to say, there was no cruise in June 2020. So here we are at the moment of departure of what we hope and pray will be an amazing trip along the Danube to visit four different nations and a number of very beautiful cities. We are thankful for the provisions that God has provided to make our trip possible and thankful for His sustaining grace in our lives over the last year. As we now celebrate our 43rd wedding anniversary we are truly grateful to God’s amazing grace always showing up in abundance in our deepest times of need.

I happen to be a person that really believes it’s important to enjoy all the opportunities that God sets before us. I agree with Solomon when he writes, “I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor – it is the gift of God. I know that whatever God does, it shall be forever. Nothing can be added to it, and nothing taken from it. God does it, that men should fear before Him,” (Eccl. 3:12-14 NKJV). When we acknowledge God’s perfect work in our lives that is great grounds for reverencing Him and worshiping Him. It is also the grounds for enjoying the creation that He has designed and made available for us to enjoy. My heart is brimming with joy this morning as I think of the sites that we are going to see in creation as we travel over the next 10 days. I’m always even amazed at the whole experience of flying, I don’t have any understanding of how it’s possible, I just know that works and I’m thankful for those who understand the aerodynamics involved. It is possible because of the laws of nature that God put in place in our universe. When we begin with the reverence of the Lord, we can most certainly rejoice in all the good gifts He has given us.

We tend to have some weird and unusual experiences in our journeys, but even when that happens the Lord Jesus Christ has an amazing way of showing up and opening up our eyes to new wonders of His faithfulness and mercy.

In the summer of 2016 as we endeavored to bless one of our retired missionaries while we were vacationing in Northern Michigan. We were going to present a plaque to Dave and Ev Southwell on the occasion of having supported them for over 40 years and partnership as part of our missionary team. God arranged it so that when we went to Dave’s Sunday school class, we were sitting next to Dave Southwell’s sister-in-law Glenna. She’s a very gracious woman and told Deb that she has a cottage at the lake that she likes to make available for free to missionaries and pastors and asked us if we would be interested in staying there some time. Well, this summer will be the seventh year that God has provided for us to stay in Mancelona, Michigan. Glenna Southwell has a son who is a missionary in Budapest. He is a principal of a Christian school there and has seven children. We will be flying into Budapest on Saturday morning and connecting with Mike for church with his family on Sunday morning. Then Mike and his wife will be our tour guides around the city of Budapest. I could not have pre-arranged that, but I know the God who did and I think it’s going to be really cool to worship in an international church (English) and then fellowship with this amazing family. It’s all part of enjoying life’s fullness as God has intended us to do so. We need to constantly be looking for God to show up in our lives and to open up doors of blessing, not only for us but so that we may bless others as well.

I would cherish your prayers for our journey this week and for our safety and our safe return and for our health and opportunities to represent the Lord Jesus Christ as He opens doors for us. I’m looking forward to being back with a full report until then be blessed and walk with the Lord and enjoy all the blessings He’s given you in your life.

All for God’s glory,

Pastor Rich

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