I write from a nice Hyatt hotel room in Florida. Laila is very good at Priceline.com and bidding rooms to get great discounts. Express Deals are her thing. From star and customer ranking, along with geographical proximity, she has an idea of which hotel/motel it is before she places our bid. Our travels thus far have taken us from: From Charlottesville, VA to Charlotte, NC - by air
From Charlotte, NC to Orlando, FL - by air We were blessed to have lunch with Axel and Ruth Lanausse, former parishioners of Covenant Church. They now live in Orlando and have their own mission organization.
From Orlando, FL to Ormond Beach, FL Tony Whitehead (his family are parishioners of Covenant Church) picked us up and took us to their home in Ormond Beach. A very nice time to "chill out".
The Whiteheads provided us a car. We could go and come any time we wished. Laila and I enjoyed days of walking, driving golf balls into a lake, riding a golf cart, playing games, watching UVA basketball via television, talking about missions with the Whiteheads, reading and studying.
We went to church with the family on Saturday night, New Year's Eve.
From Orlando, FL to Ft. Lauderdale, FL We left early Sunday AM to see Laila's cousin and her husband - it has been 15 years since we last saw them.
We looked at car in Ft. Lauderdale, but decided not to buy.
From Ft. Lauderdale, FL to Naples, FL We left Sunday PM and drove across Alligator Alley... surrounded by marshland on both sides as far as you can see with fences to keep alligators off road. Totally boring for about 130 miles. We did not see one alligator.
Every mile looked like the last mile. A hot-dog stand in the middle of Alligator Alley would make a millionaire - if the alligators did not visit.
Now in Naples, FL. We got an extension on the checkout time from the hotel to allow me to write and make sure that office staff is not delayed for Tuesday mailings.
Our destination from here? We do not know. Laila is looking at airbnb for "deals". Like to "hole up" for a stint and think, pray, study and write.
Update: Naples, FL to Tarpon Springs, FL Laila found entire apartment at a super deal.
Three days coming. Study. Rest. Plan. Maybe go deep sea fishing.
Tarpon Springs, FL to Newport Riche, FL Ed and Kitty Baker have a winter home here. We plan to visit and have a meal with them before returning to the Whiteheads home on Thursday for more shared time together.
They are wonderful hosts. We work together on a major mission project in Honduras. We are hoping to send a cargo container for a ministry there.
Friday night we will stay in Orlando, FL near the airport. We will leave for home early Saturday AM to be back in Charlottesville by mid-morning.
1. I am grateful for time with Laila. 2. I am grateful for friends. 3. I am grateful for life and love and Jesus. 4. I am grateful to be able to retreat and know that Covenant is strong in our absence. 5. I am grateful for the privilege of serving Jesus and His Church. 6. I am grateful that the burden for Covenant Church is strong, growing and challenging.
God is calling us to a bold 2017. In a world that is increasingly uncertain, divided, carnal, violent and progressively marginalizing Jesus, we have a mandate. We are called. We have a mission. We accept the commission of Our Lord Jesus to GO, TELL, and SEND!
My prayer is that the Holy Spirit will give us a season of raising up bold and able leaders who will possess the land. We need men and women of faith who understand that living the Christ life is the most rewarding of all adventures. No prayer is more constant in my heart than: "Holy Spirit, help us to raise up powerful leaders!"
Will you be one of those who in 2017 decides that it is time to step out and invest in making disciples?
We look forward to seeing you this Sunday! It will be good to be home with you.
Much Love, Pastor Bare