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Several times in the past few months, I have reminded you that, when I was teenager, I was encouraged to pray for my future spouse whom I had not met yet. Marilyn did the same thing. We both prayed for each other, that we would meet at the proper time and place, and that we would recognize in each other the answer to our prayers. All of that came gloriously true!

Now, I want to ask you to do a similar thing: I want you to start praying now for the new pastor who, inevitably, will be coming in the months ahead. Not only do I suggest that you pray for him, but also pray for his wife and family. Moving is a critical thing, as you recall. An upheaval to the children especially who will have good friends that they must leave and the ominous prospect of being the new kids in new schools with new, unfamiliar buildings and awesome new teachers!

They will be making huge adjustments as you simply sit back and wait for the moving van that brings their furniture. They have to find a house, a new bank, doctors, grocery stores, libraries, and shopping malls. I know you all well enough to predict that you will help them and take the burden of moving away from them as much as you can.

Remember, when the time comes, to give them your first name at least five times before you expect them to remember who you are. Last names can come later. They are facing a crowd of strange new faces; you see only one family.

Let them know, once the vote has been taken and he is unanimously installed, that their coming is the answer to your long and fervent prayers!

One more thing: Start loving them RIGHT NOW! Don’t wait till they come, and you start trying to decide if you really like them or not—love them NOW! Before you even have a name!

Now, I must say “Goodby,” which means that I hope the time between February 13 and the next time I see you is a good time for both of us: a GOOD BYE time! And, it will be. I am going to Texas and get some things fixed on this old body that are wearing thin or out! My love for you never dimmed in 35 years of separation; it won’t diminish once we are back in ten-gallon hat country!

Let’s have the biggest day in Bayshore’s recent history! Invite someone to come with you. Come early. Stay late. If you have been putting off joining, then, please consider joining this Sunday, my last one with you! There will be a baptismal service at the 9 AM service. I am going to baptize Tommy Craparo, the grandson of Martha Joyce Alley, who taught the Rebuilder’s Class for years. A reception is planned for 12:15 PM.

Remember, you sweet wonderful people, God loves you very much just like you are . . . and so do I!