Ramblings from the Cove...
By Lars Gren
Christmas Greetings from the Cove
For too many springs I have looked out the windows to see what might be described as tiny rivulets obscuring my view through what would be a clean clear window pane but for the April rain. Yes, it may bring May flowers, but what comfort is that, when I am sitting there still sending out Christmas cards and can’t enjoy the sights whether or not the glass is wet or dry. Well, 2014 is different with the hopes that on Jan 15 all cards will have been sent and notes also to those who are dear to us and have graced us with Yuletide greetings. I take a hint from some of the notes received that a sort of review of the year past is well-received, so I’ll try to do that.
Now for those who do not receive World Magazine but might be curious, you may go to their web site to read their article, “Walking Through Fire”, published in their March 8 issue with the tantalizing sub-heading of “Elisabeth Elliot Weathers Dementia.” Included in the article is a photo of Elisabeth and me taken in August of last year in Wales, where we had a fine time with Steve and Stella Price. Steve was our doctor for many years before returning to his home country. While we were with them, we took a jaunt to Scotland, stopping in at Edinburgh where we met up with young Elisabeth (Val’s daughter) and two of her four children. Elisabeth is the only one of the Shepard offspring to have children.
While my Elisabeth sat with her namesake and the two kids, I left to have my bit of exercise by walking the 287 steps to the top of the Scott Monument. It was a great view, but by the time I was back on terra firma I scratched having to think about walking for exercise, at least for that day. While in Edinburgh, we had a couple of nights too with Tom and Katherine Scamman, Katherine being Ad Leitch’s daughter who lived with Elisabeth and Ad their first year of marriage before attending college -— delightful time there.
As some of you know we spent the hard part of winter in Florida at the African Inland Mission Retirement Center. I had been there before but for Kea and Christi it was their first and they greatly enjoyed it and were also a joy to the retirees for they often played the piano during the noon dinner hour.
We returned to the Cove with Spring in the air and some of the plants and shrubs budding out. Since then we have made one trip to Wheaton for a few days with Jane Hawthorne -—sister to Jim E. -— a most delightful and hospitable hostess who loves to cook for hungry folks. No telling how many she has welcomed into the home for meals and beds. Her husband, Gerald, was a Greek professor from the time he graduated Wheaton until his passing a few years ago. A lifetime of hospitality outside of the classroom.
The balance of the year until now has not been sitting in rocking chairs, for we have been blessed with the greatest number of visitors of any previous years; counting up our visitors from May through October, we were surprised to find we had hosted 56 guests, some new friends and some old, all enjoyable. Among them was Grace Fabian, whose husband was killed by one of their translator partners while bringing the Bible into the Nabak language in Papua New Guinea. If you’ve not read her book Outrageous Grace, it would be well-spent time to do so and see how God’s grace operated in her response to the tragedy.
Just this week we had two visitors from Japan, Roberta (an American who has been in Japan for 28 years) and Shizuko (recent widow of a Japanese pastor). We had first met them in 2000 when Elisabeth had a meeting in Japan and we then traveled together for a Reconciliation Conference in Okinawa. While in Tokyo, Shizuko had given us a proper Tea, which is a far cry from what the British serve when they invite one in for a “cuppa.” We enjoy either, but there certainly is a ceremonial ritual in the presentation of the Japanese tea.
There have been countless blessings in this year. High on the list is the way that Elisabeth recovered from the TIA she had in May, and also that in these years ever since I required some help we have had wonderful young caregivers that have added much to our life and enjoyment, both at home and on the trips we have taken.
With that, we trust that your Christmas will be all that you hope for and that the God of all hope will bless you and yours as we roll into 2015.
God bless y’all and that’s it from The Cove.
Lars & Elisabeth