So there was this couple that lived a few streets away most of my childhood.  For basically all the parts I can remember anyways.  They were my Pastor and his wife but to me they were so much more.  I think some days I was at their house more than mine.  Their oldest daughter was my best friend.  We all went to homeschool day together, we cleaned each other’s houses, we played, we fought, I ate lunch there a million times.  These people were my second family and Pastor and Patti were my second set of parents. As I became older, they became an even more integral part of my life.  We laughed, cried, sang, and served together.  I ended up working for Pastor for a few years, we flew back and forth from the Philippines, our families celebrated Christmas together.  Pastor helped my husband find the courage to start a relationship with me, and he married us a year later.

Its really hard for me to put into words exactly what this couple means to me.  If I had to whittle it down to one thing, one sentence, it would be, they love me.  That’s what I feel from them.  They love me.  They love my husband, and they’re starting all over again with my children.

We all need that feeling.  That there’s someone that just plain loves us.  I would be embarrassed to tell you how many times that I sat crying in Pastor’s office.  Or that Patti listened to me say lots of unspiritual things in venting sessions.  They know when to listen and when to offer a little direction on the right path.  Pastor asked for the very first copy of my book for his office.  Patti welcomes my girls to sit beside her in church with an outstretched arm and a smile.  Its not just the big moments like coming to the hospital to visit us when our first child was born and put in NICU, but also the small moments like laughing together at our lives before ladies prayer time on Sunday mornings.  I have thousands of memories of them enriching my life.

Yesterday we as a church family celebrated our Pastor and Patti because they have been serving at our church for 30 years.  One place for 30 years.  And the Lord has blessed and done amazing things here and I’m so glad that I got to see most of it.  Pastor Lyle and Emily were able to pull off a surprise service for them and I’m happy that we as a church family were able to honour them in this way.  Michael and I have been blessed to work under them for five years now and can truly say that Pastor must be the best person ever to work for.

So to Pastor and Patti, thank you for loving me and my family and my church family for all these years.  You have inspired us to love each other too.  I love you both very much and your example of faithfulness is something that I hope to learn from the rest of my life.