Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Tragic deaths here in South Texas

Local news, i.e., news for here in San Antonio and for a nearby South Texas small town, was not very good the day after the Thanksgiving holiday. On the South Side of this city during the early morning hours of Friday (night of Thursday-Friday) a fire raged thru the home of Frank Madla and killed him, his mother-in-law and his granddaughter. For years Madla had been a political icon for the South Side -- one of the so-called "Frank trifecta", the other Franks being Tejeda and Wing. He had just lost re-election to his seat in the Austin legislature in a bitterly contested race earlier this month.

Madla's failure to win re-election did not elicit much response from me. After all, I wasn't in his legislative district and couldn't vote for or against him. I just had a mild sensation of "it was probably good he wasn't relected", since he SEEMED to be a "good ol' boy" type, especially whenever the news media referred to him as one of the "Frank trifecta".

However, what I read of him in the newspaper on Saturday and following days informed me that he cared about all his constituents and was a champion for the common man. Even the winning opponent was quoted as declaring that it was a very sad day, due to Madla's death. I began to see that his death in the house fire, along with the elderly woman and his granddaughter, was indeed a terrible tragedy. I now can understand that there are many residents of southern San Antonio and outlying areas who are in deep mourning for Frank Madla.

And in the small Karnes County town of Falls City there was also deep mourning, as citizens buried one of their own young men who had died in the war in Iraq. Falls City is named for three falls on the San Antonio River. It is one of the tiny, close-knit towns of that area just southeast of San Antonio inhabited mostly by descendants of Polish (or Czech) immigrants of the 19th century. So it's little wonder that the entire town is numb with grief, and that most of them either attended the funeral or lined the street to pay their respects to a native son who died in combat.

The native son, Sgt. Mitchell Mutz, age 23, was killed by a homemade explosive device in Iraq on 15 November. He had been a scout of the First Cavalry Division, and was on his second tour in Iraq. His father, Bobby, was former sheriff of Karnes County and his mother was the local librarian. Even considering that he was killed in service to our country in the US Army -- a heroic and self-sacrificing death -- SGT Mutz' death is truly tragic, for his small hometown and for all us Americans.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

To God I give thanks for. . .

Today is Saturday, 25 November -- two days after the Thanksgiving Day holiday. Even tho' citizens of these United States are thereby encouraged to give thanks -- to Whom? -- annually, we who love and follow the Lord Jesus Christ KNOW that the giving of thanks is NOT just a ONCE-a-YEAR thing. Immediately I consider the Apostle Paul's words in his first letter to the Thessalonians, in Chapter 5, verses 16-18. And there are so many other places in the New Testament letters PLUS teachings of Jesus the Nazarene himself in the Gospels, which make crystal clear the crucial importance of thankfulness in the life of the believer.

So, here is a list of SOME of the many things for which I am thankful at this time in A.D. 2006. I thank our God and celestial Daddy for. . .

. . .simply being who He, Abba, is: the great "I AM", holy, holy, holy, almighty, all-knowing and all-wise, faithful, good "all the time!"

. . .loving us unworthy, sinful, humans so much that He sent the very best He had to offer us: His only Son, His living Word, His very image -- Jesus!

. . .this day -- and every day that's gone before.

. . .my family -- both my blood relations and my Christian brothers and sisters.

. . .having a roof over my head, clothes on my back and food for my belly. And for two seasonal jobs that may not pay much, but do provide those three essentials, plus a bit more. And these two jobs are both ones I very much enjoy, as I serve others. They are my substitute teaching at Alamo Heights High School and Junior School, and my conductor-stationmaster work at Fiesta Texas.

. . .life here in San Antonio -- with her diversity of cultural heritage along with civic unity, her festive atmosphere year-round, and her origins as a mission station of the Spanish Franciscans. AND,

. . .His call on my life here and now, to serve in the Emmaus renewal movement and the Kairos Prison Ministry.

To God our Abba, Savior and "breath" of true and everlasting life, BE THE GLORY and THANKS -- forever! ! !

Friday, November 24, 2006

Acción de Gracias Thanks-giving in S.A.

Yesterday was the annual holiday of Thanksgiving Day in these United States. This is one of the most-observed, most-respected of all official US holidays. It's not commercialized, even tho' the day after (Friday) very much IS. Almost everything closes down (e.g., only a few restaurants, gas and convenient stores and emergency rooms stay open, and buses run on the least-service or Sunday schedule).

It's also a time for family gatherings for most folk. Dear reader, I trust that you got to spend the day, or part of it at least, with loved ones -- and that you took time to GIVE THANKS. As for me, I have no family closer than north of Austin. And yet I gave thanks to God for His many, many blessing to me.

One manner of giving thanks here in San Antonio is to attend the morning Interfaith Thanksgiving Service at San Fernando Cathedral. I first attended this two years ago. At first, when I read in the newspaper of how spiritual leaders from such diverse religions as Buddhist and Muslim would lead, I objected: "The Cathedral is a Christian place of worship! So why these other religions?" But the "wind" of God, his Holy Spirit, spoke to me: "Would not Jesus the Christ welcome ANYONE and EVERYONE into his house? Unconditionally?"

And so, I had gone then, and again today, to this service of Thanks-giving. And I felt very blessed. I always feel blessed whenever I consider the tremendous diversity of cultural heritage and spiritual expressions one observes here in San Antonio. (See my second posting, back at the beginning of this blogsite in March.) And this interfaith service certainly presents a variety of means for thanking the Almighty -- in song, music, readings, litanies and so forth!

One feature which fascinated me the first time, and again today, was the Native American (American Indian) expression. Today during the processional of the various leaders to the front of the Cathedral the indigenous participants slowly and reverently beat a drum while singing in their native tongue, to the tune of "Amazing Grace". (I trust that this WAS that favorite hymn in some native language or other.) Later there was native flute playing, and toward the end of the service the very loud beating of a drum. Perhaps it was just the acoustics of the building, but one got the impression that the drum being beaten was some ten feet in diameter by five feet deep. . . but after the service I observed that it was actually smaller than the big bass drum used by traditional marching bands!

An a capella men's chorus sang a couple of different times; they all dressed in dark slacks, brightly colored long-sleeved dress shirts and coordinating neckties. And pleasantly contrasting with the men was a quartet of brightly-clad women flamenco dancers. These colorful sights as well as the sounds of music and song encouraged one to give thanks at the least for God's giving us humans such creativity -- a reflection of our Creator!

After the service I went to the Convention Center for the annual Raul Jimenez Thanksgiving Dinner. Everybody receives a free Thanksgiving meal, and there is entertainment.

While I was finding a place at a table and sitting down, a conjunto band was warming up to perform on-stage. AS they got into their first, and very danceable, song, I asked aloud, "¿Bailamos?" ("shall we dance?" in Spanish), which elicited smiles and laughs from those seated around me.

Looking up I saw hanging from the cavernous Convention Center ceiling several balloons (or orbs) in the colors of VÍA, our bus company: maroonish purple, red, orange-yellow. The thousands of attendees and volunteers were also colorful -- and more diversified in their colors! Several Junior ROTC students among the volunteers were dressed in their green and black Class A uniforms, complete with blouse (i.e., suitcoat) and tie. After eating I went toward where the conjunto band had been playing, and saw several dancers on the floor. Most were my age or older, women dressed up as for church or a party, and Hispanic men in suits and ties, sometimes with a Stetson or other hat. One dancer sported an alpine-style fedora, white dress shirt, leather (or imitation leather) vest, colorful necktie and dark pants -- not exactly lederhosen, but close en'uf to the Deutsch apparel!

And so goes Thanksgiving Day here in S.A. I hope yours, dear reader, was likewise festive, colorful and pleasing to the ears. And that you gave thanks!

Monday, November 20, 2006

50 years of witness in S.A.'s hills

Back on 25 September I reported on the 107th anniversary of Mexican Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), one of the two Disciples congregations in which I hold membership. I mentioned that MCC (DC) is not only the oldest Spanish-speaking Disciples of Christ church in the nation, but is also the oldest Disciples church of ANY sort in this city!

During the summer of A.D. 2003, my other church, Alamo Heights Christian (Disciples), celebrated its golden anniversary (50th). Compared with its Westside sister congregation it's a "young 'un", right? Still, that 50th was a memorable observation in many ways. AND NOW, yesterday I participated in yet annother S.A. Disciples church's golden anniversary.

My association with Western Hills Christian Church (Disciples) goes back to the two years I was serving the Disciples of Christ church in nearby Devine (A.D. 1992-94). You see, Western Hills' pastor Harold Guess sponsored me on my pilgrim Walk to Emmaus, Men's #327, in October of '93. Shortly afterward, several of us from the Devine church attended an area-wide Disciples of Christ praise worship hosted at Western Hills. And since my arrival here in S.A. in '02 I had attended Western Hills a couple of times for various reasons. Each time I had felt very blessed to be in the church!

Hence, I felt compelled to share in the 50th celebration Sunday. As soon as I arrived at the church I inquired if Harold Guess was there. (He had moved to Austin in the late 1990s.) Indeed he was! In fact, he was to preach the sermon for the 50th anniversary worship.

Before Harold's sermon there were memorable moments, such as introductions of charter members, former pastors and two of the three Timothys (members of the church who had answered the call to ordained ministry). And two babies were dedicated by their parents; one was an adopted Chinese girl, precious to behold. Also, the most recent former pastor, Larry West, led us in the prayer time.

Brother Guess' message was terrific. If it was typical of his preaching, I can understand at least one reason why he was the longest-serving of Western Hills' six pastors, at 22 years. He sort of re-capped WH history, thru various anecdotal incidents. Some were humorous, some were deeply moving, I for one appreciated each of them. He ended each reminiscense with "God is good" (to which we replied "all the time")... I mean, all the time. . ." (reply "God is good"). See my posting of Tuesday, 10 October (one of several about Walk #1327), for some further observation about this slogan.

And dear reader, this I truly KNEW was the case for Western Hills Christian Church! This congregation hasn't had an easy history, yet there have been numerous outstanding moments during its fifty years. Such as, being recognized nationally as the fastest-growing Disciples of Christ church of it size category midway in Bro. Guess' pastoral service. The congregation has certainly flourished under his leadership as well as Bro. West and "Rusty" Wright. This last has only served the congregation a few months -- and is its third Timothy!

After the Lord's Supper, we all adjourned to the Runnels Building of the Western Hills church campus, for the Thanksgiving Dinner. This congregation certainly has something extra to be thankful for -- every year. You see, its founding date was 18 November A.D. 1956 -- just prior to Thanksgiving each year. And of course this being the 50th, I trust the thanks in each member's heart was extra strong. As was the thanks in this guest's heart. I may not have yet, and may never, call WHCC(DC) my home congregation, but I do thank our Lord for the many blessings it has given me! May He even more greatly bless these brothers and sisters in Christ thru the next 50 years, unless Christ returns before then!

Friday, November 17, 2006

' Tis the season. . . already? ? ?

Wednesday (day before yesterday) I happened to have some time between buses during a transfer at North Star Mall. So I went into the mall to browse around -- the food court shops sometimes will offer free samples of their eats.

And. . . what greeted my ears from the p.a. system, but muzak-style Christmas songs! And 'tis the season decorations were already hung from the mall ceilings!

Now folks, this is simply ridiculous! A week BEFORE Thanksgiving, and Christmas is already "in the air. . !" ? ? ? As one newspaper comic strip put it this morning (or yesterday), the 25 December holiday is starting earlier every year!

This simply IS NOT RIGHT! There should be a law against decorating (visually or aurally) for Christmas before Thanksgiving! And now that I've mentioned it, Halloween stuff was for sale in the stores not long after Labor Day. Again, such is WAY TOO EARLY!

Leaving my too-early-holiday-celebration protest aside, here are some words about the said mall. Way back when we lived in Devine, and we wanted to do mall shopping, we usually shopped South Park Mall or Ingram Park Mall; these were the two closest to our home. But once in awhile we'd go on around on Loop 410 to Central Park Mall, one of the "double malls" that flanked San Pedro Avenue on the south side of the loop. Central Park had a double carousel inside, which was very fun to ride. As for the other of those double malls, North Star, I doubt we ever darkened its doorsteps. It had a reputation as being for the very wealthy, i.e., those who lived in Loopland.

Alas! When I moved to San Antonio in '02, I was saddened to see that Central Park Mall had bit the dust. Whatever happened to that delightful carousel I don't know to this day.

And altho' North Star Mall continues to cater to the wealthy Looplanders, there is a NEW ultra-rich mall, over near Fiesta Texas. It's called The Shops of La Cantera. THAT one even has a Neiman Marcus store, and some store called Nordstrom that especially caters to ultra-rich African-American women. As if there were very many of such women here!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Season-ending "Friday nite lights"

Yup! This weekend was the final one for the regular season of Texas high school football. Some of these games determined district championships, and certain seedings in the playoffs were determined by the final game results.

So, Friday nite I attended the last regular-season, last home game, at Alamo Heights High School. The AHHS Mules were hosting the Kerrville Tivy Antlers. The hosts were expected to win easily (Tivy had a couple of district losses and Heights was undefeated in district). So I didn't show up until late in the third quarter (anyway, I had been invited to a Thanksgiving Dinner at a small church on the Westside, and I went to that first). The Mules were ahead 34-0 at that point, and final score was 40-7 in favor of Heights. As the final seconds ticked away, cheerleaders for the victorious Mules unfurled paper banners which celebrated their winning the District 27-4A football title. Finally! After several years of losing out to both Kerrville and archrival Boerne, the Mules have kicked both -- and the rest of the district!

Elsewhere, Decatur won its game in north Texas to remain undefeated. Currently the Eagles of my former home Decatur (we lived there in 1979-80) are ranked #7 in 3-A state-wide. But alas! closer to home another 3-A "D" school didn't do so well. Even tho' they played archrival Hondo at home, the Devine Warhorses lost, and lost big. Oh, well, I'm sure that the Devine eleven will get into the playoffs anyway. Also, Dilley won Friday nite, down there near the Dolph Briscoe Unit where I go for Kairos Prison Ministry activities. So Dilley should be in the state playoffs, too.

So much for "Friday nite lights". But there are still a few high school games to play on Saturday, including the Judson Rockets, and the famous Chili Bowl -- a long-standing S.A. tradition which exhibits the two oldest high schools in S.A., Fox Tech and Sidney Lanier.

Veterans Day in S.A.

In this Year of Our Lord 2006 the holiday of Veterans Day (originally named "Armistice Day" after the ending of hostilities in Europe at the end of World War I), 11 November, falls on a Saturday. This good, because San Antonio has a very BIG Vets Day parade, and always conducts it on a Saturday. So, since 11 November falls on Saturday, the parade was on the REAL holiday!

But before I went to the parade, I took the bus out to the District Ten Fall Festival. This event was organized a few years back by District Ten Councilman "Chip" Haass. But this was the first year I had been able to attend. I'm really glad I went!

The Fall Festival was held near the intersection of Thousand Oaks and Nacogdoches Roads, in the parking lot of the Midnite Cowboy dance hall (no alcohol outside!), in sunny, but coolly windy weather. In fact the wind was so strong that exhibitors had to weigh down their tablecloths, signs and papers with rocks or whatver weights they could get their hands on! There was lots of information, good entertainment, free food -- and FUN!

Early on I noticed a young chicano who was nattily dressed in white pants, blue blazer, green shirt and green patterned necktie. I complimented him on his apparel -- and at once found out that he is Rey de los Santos, who is running for Dist. 10 Councilman. "Chip" Haass, who was dressed casually in an open-collar shirt and sweater-vest, cannot run for re-election. I jokingly told de los Santos that based on his great looks and great name ("King of the Saints" in Spanish) he had my vote!

Among the entertainment was a young lady who sang "I Can Only Imagine", a gospel song recorded by Mercy Me. The song has a beautiful message (about how one can only imagine the indescribably wonder of arriving in Heaven and actually meeting our Savior), and she sang it beautifully. The police and fire departments had several vehicles at the Fall Festival. My favorite was a 1953 bright red fire truck.

After thanking Councilman Haass, who not only is my Councilman but also my fraternity brother, in Lambda Chi Alpha, for the very informative as well as entertaining festival, I got back on the bus to get downtown for the Veterans Day Parade. Now, both Nashville and Clarksville, Tennessee, claim to have the largest Vets Day parades in the country. But I don't know; San Antonio's has GOT to BE in close competition for that title!

Main Plaza, or Plaza de las Islas, is where I prefer to view this particular parade. (I don't know why, I just like that spot.) So I set up there to enjoy the parade as it went by. This year all former POWs being honored were one right after another, standing in military vehicles. One of these was Alex Tovar, a World War II POW and father of my best S.A. friend, Joe. Speaking of which, as Alex, standing and dressed in a red vest of military vet style, and a necktie, passed by, I saw that sitting right behind him was Joe! Also, two of Joe's grandchildren were in the vehicle.

As usual, the parade included several high school marching bands and Junior ROTC units. Two bands that were absent were Lanier and Fox Tech. But this is understandable, because that very evening the two schools would meet on the football field, in the annual Chili Bowl. Both schools make a big deal of the season'ending game, and their bands are very prominent before and during the game. And Alamo Stadium is close to full of spectators. I believe the Chili Bowl is de facto Homecoming for both high schools, even tho' only ONE of the teams cam be the "home" team!

When I entered Alamo Stadium on the "home" side (i.e., the pressbox side) and started looking for a good seat, I was greeted by a sea of blue (& a little white). For Sidney Lanier High was "home" team this year. A few guys even came shirtless, their torsos and faces painted in blue and white. And I suspect that stores in S.A. that sell hair dye are out of blue! Ha, ha!

The Lanier Voks pretty much had a slight edge in dominating the field most of the game. After Tech scored a touchdown in the first quarter and didn't make the p.a.t., the Voks responded with two field goals, to tie the score at halftime. In the third quarter, Lanier scored a t.d. (with p.a.t.) and a field goal, to start the final quarter ahead 16-6. But alas! the Buffaloes came back to win the Chili Bowl '06, by a core of 26-16.

So, a sad ending to an otherwise gr-r-r-reat Vets Day. Oh, well. . . . next year???

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Touring the City I love

FYI, yours truly is a member of a volunteer citizens committee, the ATD Oversight Committee. ATD stands for Advanced Transportation District. This was an entity set up by a vote of the majority of San Antonio citizens in November of A.D. 2004, who approved of a half cent raise in the local sales tax to fund improvements in the transportation infracstructure here. Half the raise was to go to VÍA Metro Transit and the remaining half to be split between the city's Public Works Department and the Texas Dept. of Transportation or TxDOT.

Being a constant bus rider, I was asked to serve on the oversight group, which means that regularly -- twice a year to begin with and now quarterly -- we gather and hear reports from the three bodies, as to what they are doing with the money raised for the ATD by the sales tax increase. It's been an informative and rewarding service.

Wednseday morning we Oversight Committee members were given a bus tour (VÍA bus, naturally) of various projects funded by the ATD sales tax. These were on the Westside and South Side of the city, and reps from VÍA, Public Works and TxDOT took turns describing their specific projects as the bus approached each. The Westside is, as you should know from reading my blog postings, my favorite part of the city. The South Side, particularly in vicinity of the old Spanish missions and along South Zarzamora Street, is also dear to my heart.

Among the projects we saw were some of the newest set of VÍA bus stop shelters, which are both attractive (including being a lovely green color all over) and functional, and the very first Super Stop that VÍA has installed, which is appropriately (?) on South Zarzamora beside the brand-new "super" H.E.B. store, north of the Zarzamora-Military Drive instersection. About a half mile or so to the south of the new Super Stop we went by the location for the proposed new South Central transit center, on the IH 35 access road near Zarzamora. This center will service the South side, which is already growning thanks to the new Toyota pickup plant out in the country.

We also saw such city Public Works projects as new sidewalks being installed on the near Westside, at Buena Vista and Colorado, which meet standards dictated by the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), and crosswalks of a new thermal plastic material, which makes them longer-lasting than traditional paint. The city Public Works "tour guide" was Joe Marsilio, and one of the TxDOT officials, Carl Smith, sat next to me on the bus. One of the TxDOT projects we saw, the widening and improvement of IH 35 between Theo and Zarzamora, which is just getting underway.

At one point early in the tour the bus passed Sidney Lanier High School, the "Pride of the Westside", the football team of which will play this Saturday in the Chili Bowl. This annual celebration of the two oldest high schools in the city (the other being now named Fox Tech) is a grand tradition of this city of many traditions and parties. Alamo Stadium, if it will be near capacity for any game will be so for the Chili Bowl.

And I shall be there! Go Voks Go!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Strait from San Antone!

George Strait, that is!

You know, it's about time I had something to say about one of my favorite institutions of San Antonio and area. A living institution. I mean the Strait man!

Well, from all of this you should figure out that I'm a great devotee of THE BEST SINGER from Texas, THE BEST country music artist still performing (if not best ever!), THE BEST role model for any man of my age! George Strait!

My man George got inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame during the CMA Awards Show last nite. Certainly, there isn't a more deserving inductee than he. And I've watched, indeed, followed, his progress from rising star to superstar and now legend.

But I must confess it was a slow beginning. When in 1981 his first radio release, "Unwound", hit the airwaves, I at first tho't it was another hit from Johnny Paycheck. And when the artist was identified as George Strait, I said, "George who?" His vocal on follow-up release "Down and Out" also hit my ear as sounding like Paycheck.

However, THEN George's songs started to sound like he had "found" his own inimitable smooth baritone voice. And THEN my ears began to really enjoy the listening! (Not that "Unwound" and "Down and Out" were unenjoyable, they just didn't hit my "hot" button.) With every new song George got better, both in delivery and in content.

I clearly remember the song that truly first got my attention: "Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind?" Living in Fort Worth was my introduction to Texas; "Cowtown" also introduced me to my wife-to-be, Ellen. And so, whenever I'd hear George singing the song on the radio, I'd respond, "Yup, just 'bout every day!"

And as I say, with each subsequent radio hit George just seemed to get better and better! Gr-r-r-reat songs that come to my mind right now, not necessarily in the order they hit the airwaves, are "Ocean Front Property", "Am I Blue?" and "Nobody in His Right Mind (Woulda Left Her)". And THEN, after a decade of gr-r-r-reat hits, George reached THE TOP in my book with the song that I've ever since considered to be THE BEST country song of all time: "Love Without End, Amen".

One cannot get any better in the country music field, than this song about the love of any REAL earthly daddy, which concludes with the unconditional and all-forgiving love of our Heavenly Daddy.

. "Daddys don't just love their children every now and then,
. It's a love without end, amen. It's a love without end, amen."

Well, even tho' that song was the absolute best in my book, not only of George's songs but also of all country songs of all times, don't get me wrong! I keep on listening to the new hits of my man George, and enjoying them. "I Cross My Heart", to name just one, comes close to "Love Without End, Amen" in being an excellent song.

And then there was George's duet with Alan Jackson, "Murder on Music Row". As much as I'd come to love Nashville, Tennessee, and appreciate the key role fo Music City in the early and on-going saga of America's own style of popular music (i.e., country music), I recognize that the powers that be in country music production seldom do their best for the genre, and they usually ignore the wishes of the die-hard devotees of the genre (e.g., yours truly). So I truly HEAR the message of this mournful song, and truly am grateful that George and Alan sang together on it.

So-o-o-o, the Strait man is now a legend! And enshrined into the Country Music Hall of Fame!

Hip! Hip! Hooray!!! Go, George, Go!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Showers of blessings!

Thru'out my postings since I began this blog back at the end of March, I've made mention to the San Antonio weather of this year of '06, which has been extra hot and in the midst of a drought.

With pleasurey I report that the drought has ended! In September the official rainfall for S.A. was ABOVE the average for the month. Last time a month had surplus rainfall was March of A.D. 2005! We had suffered a year and a half of months with precipitations way below average. All too many months didn't even have an inch of precipitation!

October didn't quite make average rainfall. But it was close! And combine this with the surplus in September and one has two straight months of adequate rainfall for our area.

Thank you, Lord, for the rain showers!

Speaking of which, Sunday (yesterday) I experienced showers of another soft: spiritual "showers of blessing"! In the morning, at Mexican Christian Church (Disciples) Andrew Villarreal preached, and I hadn't seen him in awhile. (His last time to preach was the Sunday I was involved in Walk to Emmaus #1327.) We had an intense prayer time, as he invited everyone present to circle-up around the communion table and share blessings and prayer requests. And then he preached on the great value of having faith in God, who is faithful.

That evening I attended the "Near God" alternative worship at St. Andrew's United Methodist Church. This church is within walking distance, but a rather long walk, so I usually ride bus part of that distance. As I approached the nearest bus stop to catch the bus, a car honked at me. It was Fred, who also attends and often gives me a ride home after "Near God".

This being the Sunday following All Saints Day, Bro. Brad DeHaven preached about the saints and their significance for us contemporary Christians. His Scripture was various verses from the Eleventh Chapter of the Letter to the Hebrews. This chapter is often called the "Heroes of the Faith Galelry" because the writer names several examples of men and women of the Old testament who displayed outstanding faith in God.

To sum it up, both worship services showered tremendous blessings, at least on me. And I left each in a spirit of renewal of deep faith and a sense of almost overwhelming joy that I know our Savior and our Daddy God so intimately!

Praised be the Lord!