When they were this age up to the time they were both in school, I arranged by work week around their childcare worker's schedule which meant that we had "Daddy Day" every Friday (Tami was teaching 3rd grade). Our usual routine included going to "the big Mall store" and making our rounds from the Christian bookstore ("the Jesus store") to the Disney Store to the pet store to the arcade and then to McDonald's for a Happy Meal (and free child-sized ice cream). The best part of this (from my perspective) was that all of this entertainment was free (other than the Happy Meal) since we didn't purchase things at the stores, but just looked at and played with things for a while. Even at the arcade, the kids just pretended to play with the video games during the game demos. It was the perfect option for a poor youth pastor!
In the early days of this, when Ellie was still very young, I brought along the stroller and Joey usually walked along side. One day there must have been some action that distracted me for a minute because I looked around and Joey was nowhere to be seen! I quickly found a nearby mall cop and told him my toddler was missing (this was before "Amber Alerts", so I'm not sure what he may have done other than to talk on his radio to the other security staff). I began back-tracking and searching the stores we had just walked past. Fortunately I quickly found that Joey had wandered into a video store - drawn by the big movie poster display in the back. My heart beat and breathing began to return to normal...
As I look back, the whole ordeal couldn't have lasted more than 5 minutes, but that was more than enough time to start panicking and imagining the worst! Joey, of course, had no idea what I was going through - and I'm pretty sure he never understood. But I know that the emotions of someone who feels that he's been abandoned are just as intense as the emotions of the person who has lost someone!
Our news has been dominated with the stories of the Oso mudslide and the 100+ people who have either died or haven't been accounted for and the Malaysian airline that's disappeared with over 300 people. We don't know if there are any individuals who are still alive and hoping to be rescued in either of these situations, but we can imagine the fear and pain of trying to survive for days on end and losing hope of ever being reunited with loved ones.
In a way that we will never be able to fully understand, Jesus went through an even greater experience of abandonment during his death on the cross. This Sunday, March 30th, we'll continue our series, "Famous Last Words", by focusing on Jesus' cry, "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?" What was going on there and how do we respond to our own feelings of being abandoned by God? I hope you'll be able to join us.
World Vision and the Evangelical Covenant Church
Here is a statement released by our denominational leadership in regards to World Vision and the issues of this past week as it relates to our mission to children in the Congo.
Statement on Our Partnership with World Vision