August 08, 2009

10 Random Lessons from Vacation

Written By Cary Schmidt

God just gave our family a wonderful vacation together. We spent time with family and friends on the East Coast—particularly New York. In looking back over the trip, I thought I would share some lessons learned—mostly serious, and some not so serious. The list could be longer, but for the sake of brevity—here goes:

1. Life is a lot like the tide—During an early walk on the beach—alone, I was reflecting on the past and contemplating the future. I watched one wave after another roll in and make its way to the shore. In that moment, the Lord reminded me that my time to serve Him is about as brief as one of those waves coming ashore. Another generation follows quickly behind me, and I should do all I can to honor the Lord today.

2. Kids grow up really fast—This vacation was our last before Lance starts college, so every day was a constant reminder of how quickly our kids have grown and how much we cherish every moment and memory we’ve shared as a family. We thank the Lord for the joy of parenting!

3. There are a million “world famous” pizza places in New York City—How can I have never heard of so many “world famous” places?!  I must be living under a rock when it comes to famous pizza.

4. There are more people in the North East than anyone could possibly count—Everywhere we went in New York City and in the surrounding areas—in fact the entire North East Corridor—there were masses of people everywhere. It was staggering to see the sheer numbers of people—at all hours of day and night.

5. The needs of people are the same everywhere—Even in New York City we found people receptive to tracts and to a kind word. I couldn’t believe the number of young families and single adults that we saw living in the city. I was reminded over and over of the great need to plant churches.

6. Walking in downtown Brooklyn at 1am is safer than it used to be—Trying to find our way to three different subway connections resulted in eleven of us (four adults and seven kids) wandering noisily through unfamiliar downtown Brooklyn at 1am! What an experience. Even the people that were out at that time were helpful—like the guy that told me, “I wouldn’t walk so close to those trash bags… we’ve got big rats around here.” A few moments later, a rat the size of a cat crossed our path. Lesson learned.

7. God truly does knit together the souls of Christian friends—The Lord gave us time with great Christian friends and allowed us to make memories we will never forget. More than ever I am thankful for the refreshing love and encouragement that God gives us through such relationships. They truly are a gift from God.

8. God is working in a lot of places—We were blessed to see God working in several churches and to meet new and growing Christians in those churches! At one particular lunch we really enjoyed hearing the testimony of two young families who are growing in Christ. What a joy to see God working, to hear the personal stories, and to witness life-change.

9. Riding a two seater bike is harder than it looks—Note: If you are ever in Manhattan, you can reserve free bikes at South Street Sea-Port. (You must reserve them ahead of time.) Few people know about this, but on our last day, nine of us enjoyed a three-hour bike ride along the Hudson River—at no charge. Haylee and I road tandem—me doing most of the work and her enjoying the view. It’s ok—I needed both the exercise and the smile on her face!

10. God still blesses radical faith—In several ways, we saw that God blesses risk-taking! I was challenged to obey God first and continue trusting Him with the outcomes. God always rewards faith-filled obedience.

And Finally—Mary Poppins—as portrayed in the musical—would make an excellent church staff member—she’s efficient, organized, gracious… but this one really puts her over the top—she can FLY!

We thank the Lord for allowing us to have some refreshing and enjoyable vacation time, and we’re excited about the coming season of ministry and serving Him together!