If there is one thing I’ve learned in the past few months, it’s that we have A LOT of great memories stored up from time spent with our youth group leaders and students. Going back through old pictures today, I came across ones from a few summers ago, when we took a trip out to Hershey Park.
We brought our dear friends the Griffins with us that year. Their kids fit right in with our students and we had a great time all together.
Michael was with us that year. I’m pretty sure he went off with the brave souls, who rode all of the crazy coasters while I stayed behind to hang out with our kids and take in some of the slower and more stomach-friendly ones.
We caught up with them all after lunch for our traditional Chocolate Factory ride. It’s always the best way to take a break after a busy morning of theme park fun, while enjoying the air conditioning, catchy tunes (you get serenaded by singing cows), and complimentary chocolate treat at the end of each ride.
The ride exits into the gift shop where you can buy pretty much anything you’ve ever dreamed of that is Hershey’s related.
And then they were off. And we were off too. And again, later that afternoon met up with these cool kids after they were just about roller-coastered out. They didn’t mind spending some time with us on the kiddie slides and we of course, enjoyed their company.
And whereas every youth group trip has it’s uniqueness, I do remember that year getting caught in some pretty torrential downpours at the end of the night. It seems as though Michael’s minion came out a bit dryer than he was, but as you can see, Michael didn’t seem to mind too much.
And looking back through all of these pictures, I’m reminded of all of the good times that I have to be thankful for. As I’ve mentioned before, Michael was pretty much around for everything related to our Youth Ministry. We absolutely loved having him and so many of our students join us to take trips and to make great memories.
And I truly believe that there will be many more good times and good trips in store. Sally shared the other day that she talked to Michael about taking a missions trip with him, when he is well again. And I loved seeing that excitement and hope for the future.
I mentioned yesterday, that Michael would have a surgery early this morning. For the most part, everything with the surgery went well. Afterwards, Sally shared a pretty awesome story with me. During Michael’s surgery, she was in the waiting room by herself. She was feeing anxious when another woman walked in. Turns out she was Jewish but was now a Christian and also the survivor of two traumatic brain injuries. She somehow knew about Michael and shared with Sally how she believes in prayer to Jesus and in it’s power. Sally said that when the woman left, she had happy tears knowing that God blessed her today with the company of this wonderful woman.
Sally also shared how she was reading through Philippians 1 this morning. And when I opened my Bible up to read that same chapter, what stood out to me was verse three, where Paul writes, “I thank my God every time I remember you.” Paul had an appreciation and a love for the Philippians, so much that he was thankful even when he simply thought of them.
And that is how I feel about our friend Michael. I’m so thankful for the many times and many memories that we have with him. But even now, I’m so thankful for him as well, right where he is at. Yes, things have changed. And yes, some days are harder than others. But knowing how God has worked and is working, I can think of Michael, wherever he is and be thankful.
Sally did share that Michael had more storming episodes today. It very well could be that they were related to the surgery that he had this morning. But I know that they were also doing tests just to rule out other possibilities and so tonight, that is something that we can pray for.
Thank you so much for taking time to read today’s update. Please continue to pray and please know that God is truly working in the life of our friend Michael.