Thanks for bearing with us through such a long silence! We have been home for a week now and are just starting to get our feet back on the ground after an incredible journey. I was away for nearly three months, and Gladys left five weeks ahead of me.
Our time was so filled to overflowing with people and places and experiences it would be impossible to summarize. And even to think about a list of some highlights becomes an instant blur—sort of like a time-lapse photo! Perhaps in the coming months I'll be able to cover a few specific events that come to mind.
Meanwhile, throughout our adventures, the foundation of God's word and His unchanging goodness and presence were the platform from which we took it all in. The ever-changing scenes and encounters and discoveries only served to emphasize the fact that the Lord is our bedrock and and everything else is given context and meaning because of Him and His centrality in our lives.
Everywhere we went there was loud and clear evidence of the need for the Gospel and the redeeming blood of Jesus to bring people into the life-giving eternal relationship with our Creator. Each area we visited had its own local culture and feeling. Men's ideas of how things should work, and don't, were on painfully clear display in Nicaragua. Guatemala was in the throes of a presidential election, and the clash of ideas and tenuous political allegiances was just more fuel for the fires of uncertainty. Add to this the massive increase in population and resultant nightmare traffic, stretching the infrastructure to its limits and beyond, set things up for quite the challenge.
Our challenge as God's people is to pray as in Isaiah 62:1-2, "For Zion’s sake I will not hold My peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a lamp that burns. The Gentiles shall see your righteousness, and all kings your glory..." The small parts we saw are representative of an entire world living in times of increasing disarray and instability. And it seems that people everywhere are responding to the overwhelming need for prayer. It was wonderful for us to meet many people, and especially young people, along the way who taking this challenge on board and making their lives available to God for His purposes.
For both Gladys and myself, the most notable and comforting reality of our travels was the gift of love among friends and family. Most of our time was spent with both old and new friends connected with our work with missions over the years. Every countless get-together was yet another dose of love for us, and it just went on and on. And then our very precious times with Gladys family in Guatemala and our son Mike and daughter-in-law Lauren in Louisiana were joyfully special indeed.
It was all like a taste of heaven, and we will continue to be reminded through each memory that the true and only treasure that outlasts this fleeting world of generations is Jesus Christ. He is our life and length of days.
May the Lord bless you and us as together we "Prepare the way for the people, build up the highway... take out the stones and and lift up a banner for the peoples." (Isaiah 62:9)
Dick & Gladys