"Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world."
As COVID-19 affected the world, we worshiped together at home, watching Mel Blackaby online but still standing for the scripture reading. It was a blessing to be together at the Temples' home, especially for Easter Sunday. Roswell, in his highchair, rejoiced and said "Amen" when we prayed or sang! His joy is infectious. Before the quarantine, Merle met with Captain Ricky Lee, his sailing instructor, to get some more advice about the catamaran ministry possibilities and challenges to those in the hurricane-damaged areas.
Merle took off again to help Judy sail a catamaran for a couple moving from Jacksonville Fla. to St. Croix, 1,400 Nautical miles, and to increase his "blue water"open ocean experience. And he certainly did! The wife is a doctor and will be working in St.Croix. This couple sold their house and bought a boat just days before leaving. Just a few days out of the harbor and about 220 miles into the voyage, while on the edge of a storm with lightning flashing and high winds, the power went out along with the auto helm including all the electrical systems and the starboard engine. In the dark at 3:00 am, they managed to straighten their course and head to a safe anchorage in the northern part of the Abaco islands. They stayed a day in Abaco, Bahamas to check everything out, but unfortunately, the boat had issues and they had to limp back to Florida on one motor after five days at sea. He came back home while they made repairs and upgrades. He was able to return this weekend and I am glad to have him safely home!
We had several surprises this past month! I couldn't stop thinking about the opportunity to buy the home that Merle remodeled when Luke and Lydia were seniors in High School as a home base, to have order in our lives, to have a closet and dresser rather than living out of a suitcase, and a place to be able to have our children with us, especially Lydia when she had to move out of the dorm because of COVID-19. It makes sense to base our operations out of Atlanta, near our children, friends, and home church. We checked with Delta Community Credit Union and got a better rate for interest (3.375%!) and lower upfront costs than the other quote, even on 100% financing, so we decided to purchase this small ranch home. WE ARE SO APPRECIATIVE OF THE TEMPLE FAMILY, HOUSING US FOR 4-5 MONTHS, which enabled us to save enough for the closing cost on the house. Because we are buying from friends, they let us move in early, which has been a real blessing, before the signing in mid-May. We rented a truck and moved all the things from storage on the mountain to Jonesboro with the help of three strong young men - Ian, David, and Cesar. Moving the piano is always a task that I entrust to Merle. It is difficult but he knows how to handle it and takes great care for my sake. It is a real privilege to spend my "quarantine" time unpacking boxes, washing, sorting, and finally finding a place for our belongings under one roof. Now that we need a couple sofas, a bunch of bookcases, and American plugs for our desktop computer and printer, I am anxious for Goodwill to open again. Merle worked on the house for a week, using his strength to move furniture to its proper place, set tubs in the correct room, and organize the garage before they headed off to Florida and St. Croix for sailing training and experience. Now he is back to complete all the paperwork for the closing. As he needs to take off again, we are trying to move up the closing date. It is calming to have a place to be organized and even the time to work on a home base. "He determines the times set for them and the exact places where they should live." Acts 17:26. We continue to trust God on the timing of everything and our next steps.
Delores is getting along and actually improving a bit. She is eating, and we heard that she was sitting in a wheel chair last week! We, like the rest of the world, are separated from the elderly and sick who are at nursing homes or health care facilities. We can still call to get a report, but having even a video call is difficult to arrange and Delores doesn't hear well, so it is quite frustrating to attempt this limited communication.
We celebrated Passover with the Temple family, and watched Jonathan Cahn live on-line explaining how Christ and his ministry fits perfectly into the Passover. As we have celebrated Passover many years with our children, Hannah thrilled my soul by also celebrating Passover for the first time in her own home with friends. I am proud!
Luke is supposed to be joining the Marines soon. They kept postponing because of Covid-19. He is coming to visit on his way to the beach next week. Lydia is schooling at home with me for the rest of this semester, which finishes May 11, and then for her three summer classes. She says she is happier at home than in the dorm. Her friend, Hope, came to visit and the young adults made a trip to the beach for a day before everything closed. I am enjoying Lydia's presence at home. I would have felt very "left behind" if she had not been here when Merle traveled. Lydia plans to live in Paradise this fall and begin her nurse's training in August at Toccoa Falls College where she will be a Junior. Hannah is coming to hang out with us next week and I am so excited to have her "home" with us, too! Allan will join her on Mother's Day weekend. I am so thrilled to have time with our family!
I have really benefited from listening to Christian radio, which is abundantly available in the Atlanta area. My favorite speaker is Dr. Erwin Lutzer on Running to Win, as he is a wonderful historian (I am also reading two biographies about Martin Luther) and so solid on the scriptures, but also his applications to life. I also love RZIM, the ministry of Ravi Zacharias, who is such a wonderful worldwide apologist for Christ. Sometimes he speaks over my head, but I love hearing the questions of those who are asking for clarification about who is Jesus. I'm reading Kisses from Katie, by Katie Davis, a young woman who is called by Jesus to serve in Uganda. As she describes how she feels when she returns to Uganda after visiting her parents, I can so relate. Serving in the world always gives me a very strong purpose in my life. I love enjoying my children and friends here in the States, but my life was so meaningful and full of purpose even as I went to the grocery store or visited with my Bosnian friends, besides the Bible studies and home church meetings where we sang praises to the Lord together. I loved teaching the little children and the adults, too, in Saint Lucia. I am reminded of the discussion I had with Chris in Saint Lucia about what Jesus really meant when he answered the rich, young ruler's question of what must we do to inherit eternal life with, "Why do you call me good?"Mark 10:18 Chris was murdered the day after we left Saint Lucia. I am so comforted to know that Chris knew and loved the man who was good enough to satisfy the Father's wrath over our sin with his sacrifice on the cross for you and me. ♥️
"Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain.... And they sang a new song:
"You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
and with your blood you purchased men for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation.
You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
and they will reign on the earth." Revelation 5: 6, 9-10