Zach broke his arm tonight. He was skateboarding outside and fell on it. It's the same arm he broke a few years ago, so pray that it heals well and quickly. It's in a splint until we have our new insurance in a few days, and then we'll get it into a real cast. Sounds like Josh's broken kneecap experience, huh? Read Luanne's post about the experience here.
Here's a shot of Zach tonight and one of him two years ago.
Comcast can't find our house. We waited all afternoon Saturday and the guy never came. We waited all day Monday and, despite promises by several "customer care representatives" and a supervisor, no one showed. I was on the phone this morning at 8:00 and was assured that someone would call to set up an appointment. I just called again, at 2:00 and I'm still on hold, after nearly 15 minutes. I think they've forgotten me.
They even had the nerve to tell me that their technician was at our house twice and we weren't home. He called and told the dispatcher. He was at a red brick house with white trim and a white door. Thing is, we have a brown door. And let me tell you, we've been home for HOURS waiting for this guy.
If I don't have cable, internet and phone at home tonight, I will raise holy heck.
So that explains the delay in posting. Thanks for your prayers and phone calls. We're doing well! The kids started school yesterday and seemed to do fine! I have been sitting at Panera Bread with Ted all morning... Met another church planter, Shawn Kang, from Pathways Church of Houston, then we had lunch... Now I'm just using the free wi-fi.
It's kind of an alternate universe here. Street lights are hung horizontally instead of vertically. (Being somewhat visually impaired, I have to think really hard: Green is on the right, red is on the left...) Speed bumps here are called "street humps." (What?) It's currently 93 degrees and ridiculously humid. Every time I go outside, my glasses fog up. This morning, there was a large live cockroach in our kitchen. We're not in the Bay Area anymore. :)
Oh, and this is for Meghan and Adam: Josh wants you to know his school's mascot is an Eagle.
[UPDATE: Still no solution from Comcast. They were supposed to call me back within 30 minutes. It's been 54.]
We've arrived. Thank you, God! After resting in a hotel tonight, we'll head over to the house and start the unloading and unpacking process tomorrow.
Luanne has a job interview tomorrow (Friday) morning. The kids have their school orientations in the afternoon. The movers come at 3. Access foks are coming over in the evening. Should be a full and fun day!
We already met some of the neighbors. Really great people. Emily and Zach were surrounded by kids already. It's gonna be a great place to live.
Yesterday I took the kids to Coulon Park to go swimming. I noticed Zach playing with a little African-American boy for quite a while. Last night as I tucked him in, he brought up something funny his new friend had said. He told this boy he was moving to Houston and the boy said "Forever?" and Zach told him at least ten years. So the boy said something like "Well, I'll see you in ten years." And Zach thought that was really funny.
I wanted to see how he would describe his new friend to me, so I said, "I think I saw you with your friend. What did he look like?" He thought for a second and then said...
I saw an African-American boy. Zach saw a friendly boy. He can teach me a lot.
We're on the road. I'm typing from a hotel in Medford, OR. Luanne will be blogging about our trip every night on our family's Houston Adventure site. Check it out here.
Thank you, Luanne, for fifteen amazing years. I'm grateful for every minute. In tribute to my sweet wife, here's a favorite song, from Derek Webb's I See Things Upside Down, "Better Than Wine." Buy the CD here or download the song here.
In the airport yesterday it hit me. I turned to Luanne and said, "This is so strange... We're not coming back to California anymore." I think as long as the Mt. Hermon trip was in front of us, it seemed like we hadn't really left. But now it's in the past. We're not headed home to California anymore. Driving through next week, sure, but not going home.
I loved California. What a great decade we had there.
Eugene Cho , pastor of Quest Church - an innovative Covenant church here in Seattle - had a really interesting post on Wednesday about multi-ethnic churches. He shares a CNN article called "Why Many Americans Prefer Their Sundays Segregated." It's fascinating to me because it talks a lot about Pastor Paul Sheppard of Abundant Life Christian Fellowship in Mountain View. His church is very well-known in the Bay Area, and he is something of a legend because he is an African-American man pastoring a multi-ethnic church. (Multi-ethnic, or interracial, is defined as a church in which at least 20 percent of its membership belongs to a racial group other than that church's largest racial group.)
For me, another fascinating reference is to Rev. Rodney Woo, the Chinese-American pastor of Wilcrest Baptist Church in Houston. His church has quite a story of coming to terms with who they are and who they are called to be.
I was talking with Greg Yee this last week at Mt. Hermon about Access and our dream of being a multi-ethnic church. He was excited with me, but he helped me to see some of the challenges we face as well. I'm thrilled that our family is joining a primarily Chinese-American church, and I long to see the Kingdom of God reflected in and through us in the city of Houston. But I know that I'm naive and idealistic. I have no idea what to expect... all the joys and trials that await us. But we wade into the water of the unknown, believing that it is God's will that we live and work together in harmony for His glory, even if it might sometimes be awkward and challenging. The joys will make it all worth it.
Anyway, you can read the Cho's post here and let me know what you think. I am excited to begin this new chapter in our lives, but I'll be the first to humbly admit I don't know what in the world we're really in for.
My good friend and blogging inspiration Curt, over at The Happy Husband, once told me that I shouldn't agonize over my posts, that no one expects blogs to be perfect. He said it was far more important to post regularly than to post perfectly. So here I am.
My family and I have been through a lot in the last few weeks. But, alas, all I can give you are snapshots. Thank you for caring enough to join us in this journey.
My mom and dad left Seattle last Tuesday. I got a call from them on Wednesday. My Uncle David had died unexpectedly. He was only 64. He was a great man and will be sorely missed by many. I love my family, and I know this has been devastating. Love and prayers go out to Grandpa Hendrix, who never planned to live longer than his little boy, Aunt Nancy, my cousins David, Meredith and Allison and their spouses and children, and my mom and dad, aunts and uncles.... I am so grateful for the love and grace of God. I know my Uncle David is at peace, and that one day he will be raised to new life with Jesus in the New Heaven and New Earth. Let it be, God, let it be...
We flew to San Jose last Saturday night and spent Sunday morning at Peninsula Covenant Church. I led worship at the 11:00 worship gathering, and it was so good to be home. I know it's only been 4 months, but it seems like much longer. So much has happened. It's a testimony to the power and grace of God and the true Call we are following that we could step in for just a few hours and feel so welcome and loved! There were absolutely no weird vibes... and why should there be? We love PCC.
We were with good friends for lunch. Mike and Nicole Hoefer again showed their amazing gifts of hospitality and hosted a luncheon for friends and supporters. Yes, we are venturing into the brave new world of "raising support." But that is a topic that deserves its own post, and it'll get one soon.
Then it was on to one of our favorite places on the planet. Mt. Hermon has long been a refuge for our family. There is nothing like hanging out in the Santa Cruz Mountains for the week, experiencing worship, rest and fun with a diverse group of people from all over the country. It's been fun to see Ernestine Hoyt, Steve & Winnie Wong, Paul Sampson, Greg Yee, Paul & Terry Boudreau and many other old friends. I'm grateful for the ministry of (and our partnership with) Roger & Rachel Williams, Dave & Leslie Burns, Ken Harrower, Dave Talbott, Jack Pearson, Lisa Olson and so many others who make Mt. Hermon what it is... They're going through a lot of changes in programming, and I like it all. I appreciate all the risks they're taking to make Mt. Hermon a thriving, relevant mission for the 21st Century!
And the teaching. Wow. I am grateful for Steve Arterburn (Every Man's Battle, Women of Faith, New Life Ministries), who is passionate about the power of God to heal our brokenness. Here is a man not afraid to say hard things and reveal even his own personal weakness. We need more teachers and leaders like him. Luanne and I had some time to talk with him and get to know him and his wife, Misty, a little bit. I look forward to connecting more in the future.
And I gotta say I loved the mornings. I have always been a voracious reader, and I'm always up to my eyeballs in books... theology, philosophy. I long to go to seminary someday to study further. Well, this week was a step in that direction. Dr. John Stackhouse, of Regent College in Vancouver, was our morning teacher. He talked about light topics like Muslim/Christian relations, the atonement and the humanity of Jesus. Best of all, just when I thought my head would explode with questions and comments and rabbit trails... he graciously spent a whole lunch hour with me talking theology. And then he killed us all by playing some awesome blues piano and guitar this morning.
Thanks to the musicians who joined us and made the music great this week: Ransom & Eileen (Mom) Christofferson, Dave Burns, Misty Arterburn, David Bromberg... and, of course, Luanne and Jacob Nightingale. And it's been great as always to hang out with Ugur and Liesl and their family and have Ugur rip it up on guitar.
We've met some wonderful new friends, including some folks from Houston. We hope to connect with them there.
The best thing has been seeing the kids have so much fun. Josh jumps right into middle school activities and makes friends. This reminds us that he'll be fine in his new context in Houston. Jake played a few sessions with me and has enjoyed all kinds of cool stuff... ropes courses, rock climbing, boating, zipline. He's a great, adaptable kid.
Emily and Zach are in Daycamp this year! The freedom this give Luanne and me is unbelievable, as we no longer have to check them in and out, and they can pretty much roam free.
Tomorrow it's back to Chaos as we fly to Seattle, I lead worship on Sunday and then Luanne flies to CA to supervise loading the moving van and then flies back just in time for our last Sunday and the kick-off to our cross-country adventure. But that's another post as well. We appreciate your prayers.