Each of us probably has a particular memory that is important to us and brings a smile to our face every time we think about it. For my boys it is seeing the WEC pool getting filled for the first time each year. This is sort of the official beginning of summer for our family. We are so blessed to live on this campus with other missionaries who have access to this ancient pool (over 100 years old) and to be able to enjoy it each year. Growing up near the waters of the Caribbean sea, I normally wait until August to get in as the water as the water is not quite up to my minimum temperature requirements until then. Somehow, my boys do not suffer from this same perspective and normally jump in the day the pool is open.
As I think about the many men and women who died to keep our country free that we celebrate this weekend, I am overwhelmed at God’s goodness to my family and his protection. Several of my family members, including my father, have served in the military and are alive this weekend to remember those they knew that are not. Just a few years ago we had the privilege of hosting a young man named Sam Chamberlin for a year in our home while he finished his senior year in high school. During that year, he made the courageous decision to join the Marines. After a couple of years of preparation, he was deployed to Afghanistan and is serving there this Memorial Day. Our family prays for him regularly and we will never forget the memories that he created while he was with us. He really enjoyed the pool too and seemed to spend most of his spare time there when it was open. Now that he is on the front lines to protect our nation, I hope that he can take a few moments from his busy and dangerous daily activities to reflect on his memories of his time with us and at the pool. I am sure it would bring a smile to his face.
This past week, I had the joy of participating in the training of nine interns that will be working with our ministry this summer. Seven of them will be serving in the UK and the two others will be staying with us here in the USA. What an incredible opportunity for them to make memories that will stay with them for a lifetime. Each of them has different backgrounds, interests, passions and abilities. It will be exciting to see how God uses them to impact the lives of the people they come in contact with this summer. So often, God seems to use these experiences of cross cultural disorientation to draw us closer to himself. I am praying that each one of them will leave a legacy of service for the kingdom where they are located and will look back on this summer as formative in their individual spiritual journeys.
Each day is an opportunity to create new memories. How good it is to know that even when we make mistakes and don’t get things quite right in our relationships, we have chance each day to start again. The beauty of the gospel is that God takes us as we are, forgives us and transforms us into who He wants us to be. This transformation continues throughout our entire lives as we mature in our faith day by day. We do have to deal with the practical reality that we are sinners living in a sinful world and yet we have the hope of the gospel living in us. I long for my heavenly home when all of this “muck” will pass away, but in the meantime, I am committed to making memories that honor my heavenly father and positively impact those that I live and work with in the hear and now.
Thank you Sam for having the courage to serve our country to keep us free. May you know God’s peace in the midst of your daily storms and come home safe.