To my brothers and sisters,
Hello to all! I hope that you all have arrived back safely from the traveling you have done during the past week. First of all I want to thank you all for coming from all parts of the country (Canada included) to show an attitude of unity, love, support, comfort, and solidarity. It has been a very difficult time for all of us and the response shown by all of you during these sad times has given all of us more strength, more hope, more faith. I want to thank all of you for your prayers, for yo ur words of encouragement, for the genuine and sincere care shown not only towards me but towards your fellow brother and sister in the faith. The attacks certainly have saddened us and left us at a loss but has also brought the sense of unity, togetherness, and strength that we will need in order to get through this as one people, as one family.
I did talk to Jon last night on the phone after arriving back in Iowa. He seemed to be doing ok and mentioned how his mother was doing. Jon said that Mrs. Gregory’s nose tube was to be removed later today and that her mother’s condition was improving. If she continues to improve Jon said that she should be released from the hospital in a week so please continue praying for God’s powerful healing intervention towards Mrs. Gregory. His uncle Larry is with him now and by the tone of his voice he seems to be doing ok. I want to ask all of you to continue communicating and praying not only with Jon but with each other because now more than ever we are a close knit family. I think Nick Oliver said it best after Church services this past Sabbath, “I lost a brother, but I gained a lot of brothers and sisters.” I believe that statement sums up how we now feel, that we have gained an incredible number of siblings in the faith that we can lean during times like these. At the same time though, continue praying for Jon and all those involved in the shootings because as we respectively arrive to our homes and return to work/school the support group is now spread out. Jon mentioned in his letter that it would be harder once everybody started leaving and as Ann, Adam, Debra, Kim, and I rode on the way back home that feeling started to kick in already. It is going to be hard but our hope is that God is able to heal this wound and provide us with the comfort we need. His Kingdom is coming soon and we know for sure that the next time that we see our lost friends the world is going to be under God’s direction and happiness and peace will abound. No longer will we have to suffer and there will be no more crying on this earth for we will reign with Christ if we do what we are expected to do. I pray and hope that we continue this outpour of Philadelphian attitude on a long term basis, that we keep it near our hearts and continue to strive to serve God without holding back.
I pray and hope that you all arrive back at your homes safely. I will continue to let you all know how things are going and continue to pray for all of the victims involved in the tragedy. I would like to thank all of you who encouraged me and offered me words of support and love as I tried to let everyone know what the situation was and leaned on you for support as well. I know the healing process will take time but I think it began with the incredible show of affection, love, and concern (probably exemplified on Thursday). Don’t shy away from calling each other, from saying I love you, from doing what you have done this past week. God is working something incredibly special in each one of us at this time and we will prevail in the end and reign with our soon coming Savior singing the song of the saints (Rev. 5:9-10). I love you all and thank you for everything you all did, for coming from afar and being there for each other.
“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Rev. 21:4