It's so good to be home. There is a huge place in my heart that just melts, or rests, or lets out a big 'sigh 'of relief whenever I come back to California. It's still where a large portion of my heart exsists and it's like seeing a wonderful friend after a long time apart. So the flight was good and after 5 hours in the air we landed in L.A. and went to Santa Monica Pier for a break and some fun before the 3 1/2 hour drive to San Luis. I took my little fuji camera and I didn't bring the downloader so I can't show you that part, but take my word for it. it's a great place to people watch and have some fun.
Here are a few things you won't see in Georgia.
1.A big field of artichokes! People who haven't been to California have this impression that it's all like L.A: crowded, full of stars, lots of smog, traffic and just plain crazy. Well, where I lived, it's nothing like that at all. It's a lot of rolling hills, vinyards, ranches, produce growers and surf. We passed this field of artichokes and I had to take a picture. Not just because i love them, ( these are flowering because they are using them for seed, you couldn't eat these ) but when do you ever get to see a bunch of artichoke plants?
2. A church baptising new believers in the parking lot in a 300 gallon cow trough. It's awesome. This is my church. Mercy Church. I love and miss it like nothing else. Unlike Georgia, there are not churches on every corner. Land is expensive and the state doesn't get to make big tax $ on churches so they won't sell to them. Mercy church meets at a rec. center that they have revamped into an awesome-looking-starbucks-colored building. There isn't a "baptism pool" though so they hook up the hose and fill up the rubbermaid cattle trough. It brings the whole experience down to a very real, heartfelt, humble level. Not to mention what a huge decisioin it is. It's a big covenant with God. A big promise. Sort of like a wedding ring. They first tell everyone who they are and why they are making this decision. It's awesome to hear personal stories and connect with their joy. They are then given a hand into the tub where they are prayed over and assisted in letting go of the old and coming up in the new. The "dunkers" are the "dunkees" cell leaders. ( people who teach them in small groups every week and make a commitment to help them grow in their decision to follow Jesus. ) I loved what this girl said before she got in. She said " Ask God for miracles. Don't ask Him for small things that you can do yourself. Ask him for big things that are impossible for you. It's too easy to take the credit yourself when it's something that you can accomplish." She said that she has asked for 3 miracles and has recieved all of them.
I loved this woman when she came up. She locked eyes with her husband and didn't let go until she was out of the pool. Such joy. I wonder what all was behind that look. I felt like it must have been a long time coming.
This man just wept the whole time. His little children watched as he said goodbye to the old nature and left it at the bottom. So sweet to see a humble heart.
I love these. That's Jason on the right holding his new 5 month old baby Isaiah. He's sound asleep and it's not going to stop Jason from participating in this baptism. I love that. I bet God does too. There is absolutely no need to worry so much about looking good in everyone eyes, or in God's eyes. He looks at the heart anyway so why not hold your baby and baptise your friend at the same time. Why not??
3 Kite Surfing.
We went down to Pismo Beach and watched about 50 kite surfers tear it up. It was so windy! The kids got out and played in the sand ( cause they don't care about temperature ) and we sat in the car where it was warm. We rented a 4 runner ( priceline rocks! ) with 4WD so we can go out in the dunes. Pismo is one of the last places that you can drive your car right on the beach. It makes for great bonfires when you can pack it all in the back and just drive down.
Madison and i met Sophie the pot bellied pig over 3 years ago. She is a much loved pet for this guy. He takes her to the beach for exercise and conversation. She is definatly much bigger now.