Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | March 29, 2015

Resolve on the River

A Story of Courage and Determination on the 2014 Texas Water Safari

The 2015 Texas Water Safari is only weeks away. This 260-mile ultramarathon race is more than the world’s toughest canoe race — it is the context in which ordinary people display amazing resolve. Every year, paddlers in canoes and kayaks line up in San Marcos to begin the grueling journey toward the finish line in Seadrift which is, by some estimates, a quarter of a million paddle strokes away from the spring-fed waters of the San Marcos River.

Every year, inspirational and sometimes heartbreaking stories are written in the currents, one paddle stroke at a time. Most of these stories never make the headlines but instead become a treasured part of safari lore that are retold by paddlers. In the short time that I have been a part of the paddling community, I have come to especially appreciate the stories that never make the headlines — stories of courage and resolve that happen quietly along the arduous journey.

Melissa at Cottonseed
After attempting and finishing the safari two years in a row, I took a hiatus from the race in 2014. Showing up at the starting line of the race last year proved more painful than I could have imagined. Although I wanted to be on the water, I was excited about cheering on several friends. My son Jonathan, a three-time finisher, also took a break from the race and followed friends from checkpoint to checkpoint. That’s how I learned about boat number 7481, a novice tandem team racing in an aluminum canoe.

Melissa and Gary
A young lady named Melissa James and her partner Gary, a competitive athlete, were paddling boat number 7481. This was Melissa’s second attempt to finish the safari. The year before, Melissa and her partner had paddled as far as the Salt Water Barrier, the final checkpoint located only 16-miles from the finish line. That’s where Melissa’s partner had to drop out of the race due to life-threatening heat stroke. Melissa returned in 2014 to attempt the race a second time — this time with a new paddling partner.

Those who compete in the Texas Water Safari, no matter how strong or experienced, will vouch for one thing — and that is that anything unexpected can happen along the way to put you out of the race or seriously compromise your chances of finishing the course. And that is exactly what happened to Melissa a second time. Gary had to make a tough decision to drop out of the race at Gonzales, the 80-mile checkpoint. Melissa and Gary were in third place in the novice division when they reached Gonzales.

Melissa with Log
Celeste Richardson, co-captain for boat 7481, encouraged Melissa to keep going. Fighting her emotions, Melissa agreed. She put a huge log in the bow of the canoe to trim the boat and paddled on toward the next checkpoint at Hoccheim. With every painful paddle stroke, Melissa contemplated ending her bid at Hoccheim and returning to Austin. When another novice team paddled by and asked how she was doing, Melissa broke down and wept.

How was she doing? In her exhausted mind she was moving too slow to finish, she was battling doubts about facing the infamous log jam, and she was wondering how she would survive the 5-mile crossing from the mouth of the Guadalupe River across the open waters of San Antonio Bay to the finish line in Seadrift. The guys in the other boat reminded her about another paddler who had faced similar circumstances the year before and finished the race without his partner. Melissa paddled on.

As if to add insult to injury, just before sunset and only a few miles from the next checkpoint, Melissa got caught in a sweeper current that flipped her out of her canoe and sunk the canoe. She wrestled the boat out of the water and replaced the log with three large rocks and paddled on. To her surprise, her speed jumped from just over two miles per hour to four. That’s when she knew she was capable of finishing the race.

Melissa at Night
Melissa continued paddling but did not have the luxury of getting much rest. She had started the race on Saturday morning and lost her partner on Sunday morning. Over the course of the race she slept only thirty-minutes on Sunday, one-hour on Monday, and thirty-minutes on Tuesday. Exhausted, she found herself repeatedly falling asleep while paddling and suffered intense hallucinations, something that paddlers know they will experience to some degree over the course of the race.

The most frightening time of the race for Melissa happened at the infamous log jam. Without question the most brutal portages on the race are found on this section of the course just downriver from Victoria. Every year, paddlers get lost or give up at this point in the race. Melissa’s canoe got sucked into the logs where she had seen an alligator. But somehow, summoning extra-human strength, she managed to get past the log jam and arrived at the Salt Water Barrier where her partner had dropped out the year before.

MJ 8
Only 16-miles from the finish line and a little more than 10-miles from the mouth of the Guadalupe River, Melissa trudged on stroke by stroke. When she reached San Antonio Bay at the mouth of the river, the wind was blowing hard, making the bay crossing that much more difficult. Melissa paddled and also jumped into the shallow bay and dragged her canoe toward the finish line. When she reached the barge canal, she jumped onto the bow of the canoe and paddled across the deep waters.

MJ 6
After paddling across the barge canal, Melissa again jumped into the water and waded through an infestation of jellyfish and shuffled her feet to avoid stingrays. At 12:59 PM, just one-minute from the 100-hour cut-off time Melissa caught sight of Holly Orr, a multi-safari finisher and paddling instructor. Holly waved and gestured to Melissa to keep going.

MJ 5
Melissa arrived at the finish line at 2:01 PM, one-hour and one-minute after the cutoff. To her surprise, a big group of paddlers and supporters had gathered to see her reach the finish line. Jon Schoepflin, a paddler who had encouraged her soon after she had left the Gonzalez checkpoint on Sunday morning, walked up to Melissa and gave her his safari patch — a coveted prize for safari finishers. Others were standing in line to do the same. “Those moments,” Melissa told me, “I will never forget.”

Melissa James’ story captures the true spirit of the Texas Water Safari — digging deep and making discoveries about yourself that you can only make in the context of a hard task. And her story reminds us of the importance of encouraging and cheering others on, especially when they don’t think they can muster the strength to take another paddle stroke. And, of course, the magnanimous gesture of good sportsmanship demonstrated by Jon and other paddlers who offered Melissa their patches says something really good about the people in the paddling community.

Melissa James
When I asked Melissa if she will attempt the safari again, she said yes. Her third attempt will be in a solo C1 boat. I’m looking forward to seeing Melissa at the starting line in San Marcos in just a couple of months. You can be sure that she has my deepest respect and that I will be cheering her on toward the finish line. That’s what we in the paddling community do here in Texas. Go Melissa! You are an inspiration to us all.

Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | March 28, 2015

I Hate Weeds

Weeds. I hate weeds! Weeds are like the roaches of gardening. Just about the time you think you’ve got them under control they come back with a vengeance. I spent the morning pulling weeds at the Katy Christian Ministries garden with some of the folks from Kingsland’s Christian Fellowship ABF. After the cold and soggy weather we have endured in recent weeks, it was nice to be outdoors on this beautiful Saturday morning — even if it meant pulling weeds.

Pulling weeds is hard work. I spent a lot of time on my knees carefully pinching weeds by the throat and tugging on them to make sure I pulled them up with their roots in tow. Trying to pull weeds up, roots and all, is not easy. That’s because weeds tend to be stubborn and uncooperative. Some of the weeds I wrestled with today had roots that ran all the way into the next county. I may have won the battle but I know that the pesky weeds I pulled will secretly wage their underground war to regain the ground they lost today.

After our weed-pulling, we turned the soil and then planted some really pretty flowers. Planting the colorful flowers made the time we spent pulling weeds and preparing the soil worthwhile. Looking at the several trash bags filled with troublesome weeds and the freshly planted flowers in the garden reminded me of the parables of the kingdom in Matthew 13 where Jesus talked about weeds. “The weeds are the sons of the evil one and the enemy who sows them,” Jesus said. At the end of the age He will send His angels to do some weeding. Bottom line: the weeds will ultimately lose.

Late this afternoon, Cheryl and I decided to take a road trip down our favorite Farm to Market roads to see the wildflowers. We love this time of the year when the highways in the Lone Star State are dribbled with beautiful patches of Texas Bluebonnets accented with red splashes of Indian Paintbrushes. We had such a great time following the flower trail that before we realized it we had driven 175-miles. But, it was all worth it just to see these gorgeous flowers growing amidst the weeds. The weeds, in fact, only served to accentuate the beauty of the flowers.

Bluebonnets Wire Fence
I love Spring in Texas — that wonderful time of the year when the state begins to yawn and stretch and to wake up after its Winter slumber. As we made our way back home we lost count of the number of folks we saw taking pictures of and among the bluebonnets along the roadways. We even saw the Texas Country Reporter guys talking pictures of the people taking pictures among the bluebonnets. None of the folks we saw today were compelled to leave home on this beautiful Saturday to take pictures of weeds. That’s because weeds are uninspiring.

One of my favorite moments was when we saw three scarecrows in a large garden next to a house on a backroad. When I stopped to snap a pic of the scarecrows, the middle scarecrow moved. That middle scarecrow was actually an old farmer out tending his garden. We all had a good laugh and a great conversation about gardening. He too has to battle weeds and also some pesky birds. Before we left, the old farmer invited us to come again. “We always harvest more than we can eat,” he said. “And we’d be happy to share some of our bounty with you.” As we waved goodbye, I smiled. It’s great to live in Texas, weeds and all.

Old Truck

Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | March 26, 2015

A Challenge to Husbands

Last night, my Band of Fathers core group discussed all-in marriage. We agreed that loving and being faithful to our wives is one of the greatest gifts we can give our children, and our children’s children. I was one of those fortunate kids whose grandparents and parents were deeply in love with each another. As a kid, I unwittingly learned a lot about love and commitment by watching the tender ways in which my grandfather expressed his love for my grandmother. And, my Dad’s example of loving my beautiful Mom filled our home with joy and a comforting stability.

My grandparents, Lucy and Felipe Garcia.

My grandparents, Lucy and Felipe Garcia.

The book of Proverbs (5:18-19) encourages men to be satisfied with their wives and to not seek satisfaction elsewhere. Our group talked about the danger of comparing our wives to other women, the old greener grass syndrome. Comparing our wives to other women — whether real, digital, or imaginary — is a root cause of dissatisfaction and disillusionment in many marriages today. Our wives certainly deserve better than that. We owe it to our wives to honor our marriage vows in thought, word, and deed.

A couple of years ago I posted a blog entitled “The Greenest Grass.” I wrote, in part: Whether we are talking about our lawns, our jobs, or our marriages, the grass will not be that much greener anywhere else. One reason the grass does appear to look greener to us at times is because we tend to value what we want more than what we have. As for me, I prefer to water my own grass and to make the place where I live, the job that I have, and my marriage the greenest and healthiest thing around. If I will be faithful to do that, then I will always live on the greenest side of the fence.

November 22, 1980

November 22, 1980

Proverbs 18:22 says, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.” I definitely found a good thing when I met and later married Cheryl. Years ago, I made a list of ten things that I want to be able to tell Cheryl from my death-bed. My little list keeps me focused and reminds me to make the kinds of choices that will enable me to keep each item on my list. Making those good choices is the fertilizer that keeps my own grass healthy and green.

At the conclusion of our time together last night, I challenged each of the men in my Band of Fathers to spend the next two weeks coming up with their own list of ten things they would like to share with their wives before they die. I can’t wait to hear what the guys come up with. I’m pretty sure that there will be many common items in each of our lists.

If you are married (or getting married), I challenge you to do the same. Prayerfully consider making your own list and then bless your wife (or fiancé) by sharing it with her. You’ll be amazed at how this simple exercise will bless your wife (or fiancé) and ensure that you always live on the greener side of the fence.

Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | March 21, 2015

Band of Fathers On Mission

God is undeniably up to something among the men of Kingsland. This past Thursday more than 300 men gathered at Kingsland for an evening of inspiration and encouragement. The theme of the night was “Brotherhood.” Brad Flurry, USMC Retired and Director of Operations at Kingsland, talked to our men about the importance of brotherhood in the Marine corps. Brad drove home the importance of brotherhood by reminding us of two key things: Alone is Dangerous and You Are Not Unbreakable. “Every man needs another man,” Brad emphasized, “to cover his 6” — military-speak for his back or blind side.
Processed with MoldivI had the opportunity to share a few words about my new Band of Fathers core group. Our objective as a band of fathers is to grow in our relationship with our Heavenly Father and our sons through shared study, shared mission, and shared adventure. We believe that all three of these elements are important if we are to succeed in building strong relationships with our sons and in helping our sons to become godly men who will one day lead their families well.
Processed with MoldivThis morning, we had our very first Band of Fathers shared mission initiative at The Manna House in Brookshire. Although rain was in the forecast, every one of our men was determined to serve in spite of the weather. So, we met at Manna House this morning to replace the irrigation system in the garden, to install irrigation to the fruit trees we planted during Caring for Katy, to install new flooring and shelving in their laundry room, and to clean out rain gutters. We did all of this under gray skies. The rain held off until we loaded the last tool into our Go Beyond van.
Processed with MoldivWatching fathers and sons work shoulder-to-shoulder was inspiring. I enjoyed listening to the laughter and conversations between older sons and younger sons and watching as older sons mentored the younger boys on how to do a job well. Bottom line is that every father and son who was present this morning worked hard and enjoyed themselves. We accomplished a lot in just a few short hours but, more importantly, we took an important step in strengthening the bonds between us as fathers and sons.

After we completed our work, we gathered with the residents of Manna House to listen as two of the men shared with us about their personal journeys. Powerful. One young man told us that he became just like his dad — a drug addict. “My dad,” he said, “showed me how to roll weed and encouraged me to smoke it.” He told us about his dark journey to the bottom. Another told us how moved he was to see fathers and sons working together, a privilege he had lost with is own boys because of his addiction. Both men repeated a strong warning to the sons in the room about the dangers of drug use and encouraged us to build strong father/son bonds. Extremely powerful words.
Processed with MoldivWe ended our morning by going out to lunch with the men of Manna House. Sharing a meal with our band of fathers and sons was a blast. I sat next to one of the newest residents at Manna House — a guy who was homeless only a month ago but who is determined to get his life together. What a privilege it was to hear his story and to have the opportunity to speak encouraging words to him. I know we are going to become good friends over the coming months.

I am thankful for my Band of Fathers — men who are committed to leading their sons well. As our time together came to an end the guys all said the same thing: We must do this again! And, indeed we will because as a Band of Fathers we are committed to growing in our relationship with our Heavenly Father and our sons through shared study, shared mission, and shared adventure.

Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | March 19, 2015

Band of Fathers

Earlier this year, my friend Gil Harris, the director of our Men of Kingsland ministry, asked me to pray about starting a new core group. Gil knows my heart and my desire to come alongside dads interested in strengthening their relationships with their sons. So, I agreed to start a core group especially for fathers interested in becoming better dads and champions to their sons. We call ourselves the Band of Fathers. Our objective is to grow in our relationship with our Heavenly Father and our sons through shared study, shared mission, and shared adventure.

Band of Fathers Logo 2In addition to spending time together in the study of God’s Word, we are also committed to serving others together with our sons. Our first shared mission initiative is scheduled for this Saturday. We will serve at the Manna House in Brookshire and then have a time of fellowship with the men who live there. We are also planning our first shared adventure — a rugged outdoors adventure that will help us to make great memories with our sons. We’ve got some pretty cool stuff in the works.

Last night we talked about the importance of putting family first and being intentional about having family fun. We believe that the good times we enjoy today will create great memories for the future — the kind of memories that will bless our children long after we are gone. We want to create memories of family fun but also memories of having fun while serving others and bringing glory to God.

As part of our discussion, I asked the guys to share some memories of family fun from their childhood. The feedback was great. Every guy in the room had so many good memories of things their fathers did to spend time with them — sharing outdoor adventures, getting out of the city and away from distractions to do things together, getting away from technology in order to actually talk face to face, and more. Loved hearing about things like “penny hikes” — in other words, flipping a coin at a fork in the road in order to determine which way to go on a “lost boys adventure.” Pretty cool.

The words “simple things” kept surfacing in our discussion. The things that created the best memories for the guys was not stuff but instead simple things that they did with their dads. The common thread in all of our memories was the involvement of our dads and that nothing really cost a lot of money. Our discussion made us think about the things we are doing to make good memories with our sons, the kind of memories that will bless them for a lifetime.

Although our group is new, I am excited about starting this great adventure with my Band of Fathers. We look forward to getting to know one another better, to sharing time in the study of God’s Word, and to serving others and experiencing outdoor adventures with our sons. I encourage all of the men at Kingsland to get involved in our Men of Kingsland ministry and to become a part of a core group — a band of brothers who can help one another to make greater strides toward becoming the men God wants us to be.

Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | March 12, 2015

Biking the Bayfront

Almost fifty-five years have passed since I first visited Corpus Christi. My sister and I were just kids when our folks introduced us to the Sparkling City by the Sea on a family vacation. I confess that I was a bit frightened by the vast expanse of water that seemed to dissolve into the distant horizon a million miles away. And I was also concerned because my sister’s nickname is Bonnie and I remember my Mom singing the old Scottish folk song, “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean.” I was afraid that at any moment a wave might scoop Bonnie up in its foamy arms and carry her to a place far away over the ocean.

Bay View Ride
Thirty-seven years ago I returned to Corpus Christi, never expecting that I would spend the next seven years of my life in this coastal city. When I drove down Shoreline Drive for the first time, I felt as though I had found my Shangri-La. Could any place on the planet be as beautiful? The city seemed to be perched on the edge of the world. And, that same vast open water that I had first seen as a kid made the whole world seem like it was within reach. Over the years since then I have stood on beaches and coastlines on the other side of the world and looked back toward Corpus Christi.

Shrimp Boat
Cheryl and I are in Corpus once again this week to help care for her aging mom. Those who know my mother-in-law know that when I married Cheryl I also won the mother-in-law lottery. I count it a privilege to spend time with her and to help feed and care for her. Although she is physically frail and so many of her memories have melted together, she maintains a great sense of humor, a remarkable kindness, and an incredible appetite for chocolate. She is delightful to be around.

USS Lexington
This morning I ventured back to Shoreline Drive to ride my bike. I started near the ship channel where the USS Lexington is permanently moored and rode south along the beautiful bayfront. There were a surprising number of tourists walking along Shoreline Drive this morning in spite of the overcast skies and chilly breeze. I also swooped down into the t-heads to ride slowly past the boats and to watch the fishermen casting their rods against the wind. Apparently others agreed that the day was just too nice to stay indoors.

I only rode about eight miles this morning but my intention was not to do a lengthy ride but instead to linger and enjoy the beautiful views — the sky, the sea, the birds and the boats, and the big ships that come here from all over the world. I stopped a lot along the way to just look out and to soak in the beauty that I first saw so long ago. I am glad that my folks introduced me to this place when I was a kid and that God allowed me to spend a few years of my life here. Biking the bayfront was a fun and affordable adventure, one that I hope to do again the next time I return to the Sparkling City by the Sea.

Bike and Boats

Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | March 10, 2015

Our Family’s Unsung Hero

If there is such a thing as the “white sheep” of the family, then our family’s white sheep is my oldest daughter, Niki. From the time she was a kid, she has had a “think of others” kind of spirit. She has a compassionate heart and cares deeply about others — especially those who are weak, in need, down and out, and vulnerable. She will go the second mile and beyond to help others without any thought of recognition or reward.

Niki and Cheryl
One of my favorite memories about Niki is about a phone call I received from her while she was on a student mission trip to Houston’s Third Ward in the mid-90’s. Our team of students was serving with a partnering assistance ministry. When Niki found out they needed a computer desk she acted without hesitation to meet the need. Our phone conversation:

“Hey Dad, can you be at the house later this afternoon?”

“I think so, Niki. What’s up?”

“The ministry we are helping is sending some guys in a truck to pick up our computer desk.”

“What?” I replied in a surprised tone. “Do you mean the brand-spanking-new computer desk that I just bought for the upstairs loft area?”

“Yeah,” said Niki. “That’s the one!” She continued, “The people here are doing a good work, Dad, and really need a computer work station more than we do, so I told them they could have our desk.”

Not knowing whether to be upset or happy about Niki’s generosity, the Lord immediately impressed upon me to embrace the moment and celebrate Niki’s thoughtful act of kindness. And, so I did. I met the guys at the house later that afternoon and helped them load the desk.

That’s just one of many similar experiences. I could go on about Niki finding homes for appliances, furniture, toys, and more. Or meeting people in need and finding a way to help.

When my son, Jonathan, decided to compete in the Texas Water Safari and needed a team captain, he enlisted Niki. Being a team captain for a safari team is demanding and exhausting. Team captains must meet and check-in their respective teams at all timed-checkpoints along the 260-mile race route, handle all logistics, and a lot more. Team captains get very little sleep and even less recognition but without them it would be impossible to finish the race. Niki has also served as my team captain on the safari and will do so again this year. I would never even consider doing the race without her.

Niki and Gina
Niki has also been the quiet but creative force behind weddings, birthday parties, and all sorts of celebrations for family and friends. She is really good at that kind of stuff and prefers to be behind the scenes. And, she works with Alzheimer’s patients — something that I would find extremely hard to do. She does these things well because she cares and because the inclination of her heart is to help people in need, no matter what. My mother was the same way and would be so proud to see the person that Niki has become.

Today is Niki’s birthday. And although she tends to shy away from recognition, she deserves to be acknowledged for her kind and compassionate heart. She is a good daughter and older sister and friend. Happy birthday, Niki. Your Mom, Jonathan, Gina, and I love you.

Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | March 9, 2015

CFK 2015 Video

On Sunday, March 1, we closed the doors to the church and ventured into our community to be the church — our 8th Annual Caring for Katy day of service. For the first time in eight years it rained on our annual “church has left the building” day. But, the rain did little to dampen spirits or to keep our army of volunteers from loving and serving others. Thanks to everyone who participated and helped to bless so many people throughout our community. And thanks also to Sean Cunningham for once again producing our Caring for Katy video. Enjoy these snapshots of a few of our almost fifty projects around Katy.

Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | March 8, 2015

Gina and Casey

I have lost track of the number of weddings I have performed over the past thirty-six years. Some weddings are memorable because of something unexpected that happened — like a ring-bearer fainting, a bride arriving an hour late, a groom with chewing tobacco in his mouth, a bride who got the giggles and couldn’t stop laughing, a funny or awkward-sounding name, a groom who backed out at the last-minute, and more. Like many pastors with a long-history of officiating at weddings, I have witnessed my share of wedding hits and misses.

Last November I had the privilege of performing my son’s wedding ceremony — the first time for me to officiate at the wedding of one of my own kids. Last night I had the privilege of walking my youngest daughter down the aisle — the first time for me to be on that side of the wedding equation. Pastor Steve Peace, my long-time friend, performed the first part of the ceremony so that I could walk Gina down the aisle.
Gina and Pastor SteveHaving Steve take part in Gina’s wedding was special to our family. Steve and I attended and graduated from seminary together and I later had the privilege of serving eight years under his leadership. Gina was almost two-years old when Steve first held her in his arms. We count Steve and his wife Celia among our dearest friends. Their presence made Gina’s day that much more special for us.

One of the best things about weddings is that they bring the generations together — from absolutely cute little flower girls and ring-bearers to grandparents and guests of all ages. My soon-to-be-86-year-old Dad drove up for the wedding. Watching my Dad enjoying the evening was a blessing beyond words. I love my Dad and I loved watching him and Gina share special moments before the wedding.
Processed with MoldivAfter giving the bride away, I took my place on the other side of the altar to do the rest of the ceremony. Looking at Gina standing next to Casey, I felt a lot like Tevye — the Jewish milkman in the musical Fiddler on the Roof who watched his three daughters grow up to become beautiful young ladies. One of my favorite scenes in the story is the marriage of Tevye’s oldest daughter, Tzeitel, to a tailor named Motel.

As Tevye and Golde watch Tzeitel at the marriage altar, they both contemplate the passing of the years and quietly sing, “Sunrise, Sunset,” one of the most memorable songs in the musical. “Is this the little girl I carried,” Tevye begins. “Is this the little boy at play.” Golde adds, “I don’t remember growing older, when did they? … Wasn’t it yesterday they were small?” And then, of course, the beautiful chorus: “Sunrise, sunset, swiftly flow the days, seedlings turn overnight to flowers, blossoming even as we gaze. One season following another, laden with happiness and tears.”

Casey and Gina Informal
Throughout all the years laden with happiness and tears, Cheryl and I prayed for Gina and also for the young man we hoped she might one day marry. Through His providential guidance, God led Gina to a young man named Casey Gallio — and we couldn’t be happier. We liked Casey from the moment we met him and soon grew to love him. He is a gentleman who loves and respects our daughter. We are thrilled to welcome him into our family and look forward to watching Casey and Gina’s relationship blossom over the coming years.

Today, Cheryl and I are grateful to God for answering our prayers by blessing our family with Casey and also with our son Jonathan’s wife, Aubrey. These are happy days for us as our family grows and we find ourselves the beneficiaries of God’s goodness.

Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | March 1, 2015

Caring for Katy 2015

Our 2015 Caring for Katy is now history. And, this 8th annual day of caring for our community made history as the first year we have had to serve in the rain. For the past several days as I kept a close eye on the forecast one thing remained the same — rain in the forecast for Sunday, March 1. No worries. While we had to alter a few of our initiatives, the people of Kingsland showed up at their respective locations ready to serve in spite of the rain.

Sunddown Group
Although I would have preferred a day filled with sunshine, the rain did little to diminish the enthusiasm and determination of our folks to serve others. Today certainly gave a whole new meaning to going beyond. Seeing our army of weekend warriors clad in their lime-green CFK shirts around the community was inspiring. One team emailed and said, “What a great morning of serving together in the name of our Lord Jesus … The wet weather did not diminish our joy or our resolve to get ‘ er done!”

Kids at Work
I especially enjoyed seeing kids of all ages serving alongside their moms and dads. The rain was an added bonus for the kids and just made the day that much more fun and adventurous. The plus side to the rain is that it made today that much more memorable. When we look back on this day we’ll always remember it as the year we served others in and in spite of the rain. This day will remind us that we can do more than we thought in conditions that are less than ideal — a good lesson that will also serve our kids well when they encounter future challenges.

The bottom line is that today turned out to be a great day as the people of Kingsland planned and participated in more than forty service initiatives around the community. Many of our teams will follow-up by finishing some things that they were not able to complete in the rain. That’s ok. We will keep our promises to every person we served just as we have every year. And, tonight, there are many people in our community who will go to bed a little happier because we showed up to demonstrate God’s love to them in practical ways in spite of the weather.
CFK TrioSpecial thanks to every one of our CFK point persons for their work in planning, mobilizing volunteers, purchasing and staging supplies, and encouraging your teams to go beyond. And a million thanks to every volunteer who braved the weather, got more than a little soaked and dirty, and pressed on to get the job done. Thank you all for being the hands and feet of Jesus in so many places and in so many ways. Thanks for going beyond!


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