We looked forward to it a long time, and will look back on it as a high point in our life. Three hundred people came - a wonderful mixture of dear friends from across our life of these last 25 years were there. Young people who've given their hearts to Rwanda. People from my Advent Bible Study mornings - eager to go at it again after Thanksgiving this year. People like Gilbert Habimana , a humble, gifted teacher in our retreats from the very beginning, generous donors who've never given up on us and this deep work.
Dr. Jim's organization and presentation was brilliant. Our Board Chair Ian Hardgrove and his wife Laurel made the work clear and understandable and were earnest and persuasive. The music of Annette Bittner and her group was uplifting and full of the Spirit. Dr. Jonathan Stuart welcomed and made us all feel at home. It was a grand gathering.
There was a sense of family in the Spirit - of a community created by God as an example of Jesus' "new commandment" to us all - simply "love each other." His love was there, binding us together.
It game me a great sense of hope for the long future of the Pilgrim Center and its work in the world, so needed in our time.
Many friends came round at the end of the meeting, almost all of them suggesting coffee or lunch together sometime soon.
I've missed so many dear friends over the summer while we've been away - at rest - at our lakeside in New Hampshire's mountains. While we were eager to dive in and catch up with so many who are important to us, we were hit with an unexpected surprise that nearly took me away: pneumonia, with sepsis. A very serious business that took a week in hospital and three weeks of "Home Care" following to get me back to some semblance of returning strength.
We're going slow for now with a few "devices" to help in walking and balance. My friend Laury will be setting up appointments for me. If you don't hear from us in a week or two, try to get in touch with Laury who is working to get us "back into the land of the living."
So, dear firnds, "God willing" I will be seeing you soon. Your prayers and kind concern have helped so much.
We now have plans with the Hilltop Restaurant in Edina to have three Advent gatherings on Thursday mornings at 7:00 - 8:30 am. They will be on Dec. 5, 12 and 19. We are sending out emails and snail mail trying to reach those who've have been on our list. But, please come to be with us, even if you do not receive a mailing.
You might want to know too that Daniel has invited me again to preach at Colonial Church on Christmas morning. Since his last preaching is on Christmas Eve, the Christmas Day service he intends to be the last celebration of Christmas Day. Some of you may want to be there.
We pray God will bless it all and help it happen.
With love to so many pals,
Arthur A Rouner, Jr -
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ARTHUR ROUNER MINISTRIES