1} We just finished up our Missions Conference at church.
We have it every year. My Uncle Danny comes up from Houston, TX and kicks all our rears and tells us to stretch and to increase our faith and to fork over our money for all those missionaries who are out there across the world doing what we can't do ourselves... go ye into all the world and preach the gospel... to the regions beyond...
He skins us. And we come back three nights in a row, asking for more. Because it's that good to get skint sometimes.
Because sometimes we need a reminder that it's not all about us, it's about them too- the them that are lost and need to hear the good news, the awesome news, that there's more.
And we can take a big part in sharing that good news by forking over our money.
It's not complicated. And it's a good thing to do.
2} Two missionaries also came to our conference.
Because what's a Missions Conference without missionaries?
Kinda lame, that's what.
3} Josh Stokes was one of those missionaries. He's going to Spain.
He's a second generation missionary, a missionary kid.
His dad went to Spain too, at age 50.
Josh married Denise Cox and now they have four kids.
4} Denise's parents used to babysit me when I was a little girl in Texas.
Denise and her sisters had big hair, and big shoulder pads, and a waterbed that I was afraid of drowning in, and all the Archie comic books my heart could desire.
I wanted to be them when I grew up.
And when Josh got up to preach on Sunday, I couldn't help but feel really nostalgic.
I kept remembering how I used to walk into the Cox's house with my bushy 8 year old eyebrows, and Bro. Bobby would open the door and ask me if I liked yardbird and I never knew what to say because I didn't know what yardbird was and it was years later that I found out it was just chicken.
And Miss Kathy would come out if the kitchen in her wheelchair and tell me I didn't have to eat yardbird, she'd made me a PB&J.
She always used white bread and both their eyes smiled and I could always tell they loved each other alot.
And Bro. Bobby would ask me if I wanted to watch The Three Stooges, and I always did, and right before he'd pop that VHS into the VCR, he'd say in his most serious voice, You can only watch this if you don't laugh. Promise?
And I'd sadly say back to him, I guess I better not watch it then. Because I knew that was a promise I couldn't keep, I laughed all the way thru those movies.
He said it every time, and I thought he was serious every time, but he always ended up letting me watch it anyway. I laugh every time too, Sunny Jane.
And I still love The Three Stooges, now that I'm all grown up.
5} I remembered how Miss Kathy got so sick that time and how everyone from church poured into the hospital and there were people praying in every corner and she lived and got to see her kids grow up, even though the doctors said there wasn't a chance.
It was a miracle.
And after that, she had to have her arms and legs amputated, and she'd pinch my cheeks with her hook thingy and tell me she loved me. And when I stepped on her fake foot one time and felt really bad, she said, Why feeling so bad? I can't feel it! And then we both laughed.
She had eyes so full of shine and smiles, and they told me she was able to go to her youngest daughter's wedding right before she passed away, several years back. I wasn't there, but I know this- Miss Kathy's eyes must've shone at her wedding girl and lit up the room, in spite of her being so sick at that point.
6} Now those Cox kids are grown up, all in church, and Denise is about to head over to Spain with her kids and missionary husband.
And don't you know that right about now Miss Kathy's eyes would be smiling over that?
Don't you know that Bro. Bobby sees his children serving God and his heart pretty much busts in happiness?
Don't you know that Josh's dad, in the nursing home now, sees his boy going across the Atlantic to take the Gospel to the same mission field he himself was so burdened for, and under his frail, sick body, his heart beats and says, Lord... how can You be so good?
Don't you know that sometimes when God is that good, all you can do is cry?
7} I guess what I'm trying to say is this: There's nothing so beautiful as seeing the generations serving God together.
And there's nothing so wonderful as seeing a parent's faithfulness pay off.
And I loved seeing Josh Stokes up there crying over the same people his dad cried over.
8} And I want to say thank you to all those faithful. To all the ones who've fought the fight and some finished their course. To the ones who get up there and skin us all when we need it. To all the ones I've watched and tried to mimic throughout my life.
Thank you for taking the time to smile and shine your eyes at me.
I love your faithfulness.