For those of you who've heard me preach, you know the affection with which I speak of my grandfather. My granddad is a hero to me.
He became an elder very early in life, a reflection of his spiritual maturity and desire to follow Christ in all things, and was greatly admired and respected as a Bible teacher. When he retired, he invested himself in the kingdom, spending parts of his summers, along with my grandmother, working at Camp Barton. It was there, in 1984, that I was baptized by my grandfather. He took me to all my orthodontist appointments. He came to watch me play baseball. He supported me when I began to preach.
One of the most precious collections in my library is a full volume of commentaries given to me as a gift from my grandfather. They were his personal copies, complete with his handwritten notes in the margins.
On Sunday night, my grandfather had to be taken to the E.R. of Saline Memorial Hospital. After a couple of days of tests, the doctors identified the source of an infection that has been afflicting him. My entire extended family and I covet your prayers for God's well-being for my grandfather.
My uncle George has a blog and two days ago wrote the following about my grandfather:
Sunday my Dad was admitted to the hospital. I spoke with one sister and she said he was ok and I should come tomorrow. Later another sister called (there are 4 of them) and said you should go on down and see him, "it's bad". I dropped what I was doing and rushed down the interstate. Yes, Dad looked terrible and they had him drugged up. I stayed until about 9:30 and drove back home. Went to work until 11 and headed back down there. He was a lot better. He had been passing out for a couple of days and was really weak. The jury is still out right now.
While I sat in the room with my parents it made me realize how lucky I was at my age to still have both parents. My mom asked if I would give Dad a shave and it was instantly an retro moment of standing on the closed toilet watching my daddy shave and wanting to do it so bad! He always gave me shaving cream to play with. Now here I am shaving my dad while he lays in a hospital bed. We both get tickled. I tried to put shaving cream between his lip and nose and I think half of it went up his nose. I took forever for me to get the shaving done. Sort of like tying a tie on a little boy. It's all done opposite from what you're used to. It was a good moment. A moment that reminds me of my upbringing.
Last week, I wore my Texas Rangers BP jersey to Prime Time. Tonight, I received the full rebuttal of my deaf ministry friends. Lee and Brian both wore Oakland Athletics shirts. Mark rubbed it in even more with one of his trademark Oakland Raiders shirts.
Since Mandy, Trae and I began taking ASL classes with Judy, we've begun attending the Tuesday Prime Time class for the deaf. Lee Dial, a young-at-heart elder from the Hanford church, comes to Fresno to teach and does a wonderful job. Jamie Perry sits with Mandy and I and voice-interprets the signs we don't understand.
Our immersion into the deaf ministry has been a baptism by fire, but the blessing has been incalculable. Though our deaf ministry at Woodward Park is not the biggest ministry in our church, it has become one of the most endearing to my family.
Oakland A's allegiance aside!
Several weeks ago, Jamie's husband, Ken, surprised me late on a Friday afternoon with a gift of Billie Silvey's God's Child In The City: Catching God's Vision for Urban Ministry. Silvey outlines in the first-half of the book the factors related to successful urban ministry. In the second-half, she chronicles a particular ministry within the Culver Palms Church of Christ to provide job training for the homeless and immigrants within the greater Los Angeles area. Silvey's book is highlighting enlightening and motivating, especially for a guy like myself whose primary ministry has been in smaller southern communities. Her insight into demographic factors and the way of Jesus in reaching the marginalized in society is outstanding.