Archive for January, 2012

I don’t think …

I don’t think saying goodbye is ever easy and we have said goodbye the past three Januarys to some very special people whom God used to shape and define us for His purposes and plans. In January 2010, we said goodbye to my Grandmother Mackey, the great adventurer and my hero. In January 2011, we said goodbye to Jim’s mother who raised an amazing man that I am blessed to be on this journey of life with. And, then this year, we said goodbye to my mother. It has been difficult to say the least. I think one of the hardest things in life is losing your mom. But even the midst of it I knew His love and His peace. She waited for me before she left and I got some precious time with her … to love her and release her … no greater privilege than to read Psalm 23 to her just moments before she left this life for His Presence. I was able to be there to honor her and the life she lived. I was so blessed by all the love and support … I am a very rich person indeed. And now, I continue to live this life … a better person because of all I learned from her life. I learned so many thing from her, things I’m sure I’m not even aware of at this point. I learned how to cook delicious southern food, how to make fudge in her fudge pot (the only pot that can produce good fudge!), and how to make a home out of a house, just to name a few things. There are two things she taught me that I am extremely thankful for: One thing was perseverance: to never, ever give up. No matter what life throws your way, keep your head up and keep living. Another thing I learned from my mother is how to love people even when they are unlovable. If my mother left nothing behind for me other than these two great life lessons, I would be blessed. These are the kind of life lessons that have impacted my life and made me a much richer person! After returning from saying goodbye to my mother, we faced a bittersweet day as we said another goodbye. Bitter, as we said goodbye to an amazing group of people who will forever be etched upon our hearts. People who have opened their hearts and lives to us and allowed us the privilege of serving them for the past 2 1/2 years. Sweet, because God is taking us on a journey of faith that will propel us into the next place of His destiny and purpose. It will be a walk like that of Abraham … called to go for our own advantage … to a place He WILL show us … a place where we will be blessed … and a place where we will be a blessing. We go much better people and much better prepared because of the people we have served. I don’t know exactly what God has planned for 2012 and beyond … but I do know that I completely trust Him and I am very excited by the peeks He is giving us. He is a good God and I KNOW that I KNOW that I KNOW that He plans to prosper me and not to harm me, to give me a future and a hope … He is working it all together … the good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly for my good! I am thankful … and blessed… Closed Doors … Open Doors … we are trusting our God who is utterly and completely trustworthy! “Faithful is He Who is calling you [to Himself] and utterly trustworthy, and He will also do it [fulfill His call by hallowing and keeping you].” 1 Thessalonians 5:24

2011 update

Merry Christmas … and Happy Hanukkah (as these two celebrations coincide this year.)!

We hope that your entire family is enjoying the celebrations of this wonderful season and that everything around you acts as a reminder of the joy of having Jesus in your lives.

We wanted to give you a brief update of what has been taking place in the Garretts’ lives in 2011 … and hopefully through all of it, that your life can be encouraged as well.

Our year started off with a tragedy/victory as we saw the passing away of Jim’s mom. Frances had been very sick for the past couple of years from difficulties with her heart and corresponding surgeries. The blessings are that she DID see 70+ years of life and that she DID live a long and fulfilling life of serving Christ by serving others. Jim had the privilege of overseeing her funeral/memorial service and decided to make it a simple time of remembering and celebrating a life lived for Jesus. It was only a couple of weeks later that her caretaker, Aunt Margaret, also went on to be with Jesus. It is always interesting when two individuals who lived so closely together often end up passing (nearly) together as well.

We had the opportunity to minister down in Colombia early in the year as we combined two locations: Cartagena and Medellin to minister to local Christian leaders and churches in those locations. We have instantly fallen in love with Colombia and cherish every time we get to visit there.

March saw the entire Garrett family get to participate in one of those trips of a lifetime as we ALL headed out to Disney World via jets from all over the Mid-West and got to spend 7 incredible days together at the house of the Mouse. Needless to say, ALL the kids had fun and Mimi and Papa rejoiced in every second of this time. In Leisy’s words, “It was magical.”

Although some of the family endured life-altering difficulties this year, perhaps one of the most significant difficulty was that of Aaron’s pre-mature birth. Although he was due to Crystal and David toward the end of August, he actually made his appearance on June 13 weighing in around 4 1/2 lbs. He was a critical care baby for a few weeks and the Drs. didn’t give much hope … but God had other intentions. Certainly time and space do not have much room for this story but … shall I say in the immortal words of the Hanukkah season, “A Great Miracle Happened Here.” We continue to rejoice in this miracle (as we do with all of our grandchildren.)

As Cheri stayed home with Crystal and David and little Aaron and Issac, Jim led a team of teens to Medellin, Colombia just a few days after Aaron’s birth where they did great work among several churches and communities in the area. It was a thrill to see God at work through the teens but it was difficult because of the separation between us and the critical need in Aaron’s life. The cool thing was that people all over Colombia joined us in praying for Aaron and became a part of the miracle!

Early in the Fall, Cheri also made a journey to Medellin, Colombia where she ministered at a Ladies in Christian Leadership Conference. She was well received and was invited back for more … but as with the earlier trip, the separation between us made Cheri hunger to be back home … or at least with Jim.

Both of us have worked at the church near Chicago all year … and Jim has continued to teach at Ashland Theological Seminary- Detroit. But in the midst of this year, God has continually spoken that He was preparing us for an elevation in ministry. We are still not sure what that looks like; obviously, it will have elements of teaching, preaching, pastoral care, and missions. Nonetheless, we are trusting God for a complete picture of His next phase for us.

SO we launch out into 2012 without a known future … we are leaving CLC … and we don’t know what that future looks like. What we do know is this: God has our backs … and our future….and our now! And as Abraham left Ur of the Chaldees with only a solid resolve to obey God, yet without clear destination, we too know that God is in control of our destiny … as He is with yours.

May your Christmas be filled with the love, peace and joy that only comes from truly knowing Him…and may 2012 be your best year yet!

Jim and Cheri


This blog is in dire need of a new posting.

I am looking forward to doing some updating on both websites and the blog over the next few days. There are certainly many things that need to be reported … The greatest of these is that which God is doing in us. Keep an eye open in the next few days.

I have a report and pix from Israel AND I have a report and pix from Bogota, Colombia.