Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Antioch Ranch - Post #3

Men’s Bible Study, the Beach, and Dinner with Friends – October 2011

Thursday morning, I awoke around 8am to find my wife, Alene, already having been awake since sometime around 5am.  She had made coffee, started a fire, and already done a few hours of bible study, happy to be almost done with her study in Genesis.

Mind you she’s been studying in Genesis for months now, so that’s an exciting thing!  She’s doing a Kay Arther Inductive study which is pretty intensive.  I enjoy listening to her tell of the stories she’s learning, of Abraham and Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph.  These area stories that I’ve taken for granted because I learned many of them in childhood but are new to her, and to see her learn and grow in her own understanding is very gratifying.

So, as I wander out of the bedroom, eyes barely open, I notice it’s raining outside.  This is disappointing because Alene really wanted to go sit at the beach today.  However, she says since the weather has been alternately raining then sunny this morning, she was hopeful the rain might blow over later in the day. 

She was right, big time, but I’ll get to that in a moment.

My loving wife, realizing that I’m not super great at the whole “quiet, unplugged, no TV/radio/internet thing” because I get a feeling of disconnectedness, if that makes sense, Alene asked if I’d like to go to the men’s Bible study at the church this morning, for at least something to do while it rains.  

I love my wife.  

Seeing as the study started at 9am, I said sure, sounds good, and we hurried to get ready to go.

We arrived at the Presbyterian Church at 9am, and I went inside.  Alene walked down to the store to get a few things we needed, and hung out reading and studying on her own and enjoying the morning.  

By this time, amazingly, the weather was already beginning to clear, and it was a lovely morning at the coast.

I was greeted inside the Presbyterian Church classroom by about 8 mostly elderly men.  I say mostly because I think the youngest was about 65 years old; however I mean no disrespect by that! They were wonderful, kind, and generous men who welcomed me with coffee and cookies, which was just right by me! We all chatted for a few minutes, which is how I found out the man sitting next to me, who was named Ron and happened to be the youngest of the group, was born again and accepted Jesus as his Savior at Jerry and Pat’s Antioch Ranch back in the late 1970’s.

Go hippie ministry!!

It seems just about everyone at this church knows or has some story about Jerry and Pat, which says a lot about them. 50 years in the community has to leave a mark.  Their mark has been remarkably positive.

We studied Luke 6:27-49 by going around the table and each man reading a few verses.  After reading the passage, we simply discussed what we’d read. 

I was very excited because in this passage Jesus is teaching about loving your enemies, doing good to all, and not judging one another, which is right in my theological breadbasket lately! 

We had a good, lively discussion, and I enjoyed the input from the older men, drawing on their experiences through life. Some of the men had interesting views, having drawn their own conclusions about faith from their own lives, but don’t we all do that to some degree? 
It was a refreshing, fun study of a passage that is very meaningful to me.

Afterward Alene and I drove down to Caspar Beach, planted our chairs, and sat for a few hours to enjoy the ocean.  The surf was high, and waves were crashing against the rocks with a vengeance. The wind was blowing pretty steady, and although the sun was shining brightly, we both got pretty chilly after a bit.  Even with the chill, there were 2 surfers wearing wetsuits trying to catch a few waves. We pulled up stakes after about 2 hours of ogling God’s beauty, and headed back to base.
Caspar Beach

Waves shooting up after crashing on the rocks.

Waves crashing on the rocks off Caspar Beach.

Back at the house, Alene got to work cutting up vegetables and making a beef stew for dinner, which turned out just fantastic!  Lance and Susan and their friend Katarina came over for dinner a few hours later.  

What a wonderful couple Lance and Susan are.

Did I mention Alene’s stew turned out to be incredibly good?   

Lance is my age.  He and Susan have been married for 24 years.  Lance was saved right out of high school, after which he got involved in street ministry in Sacramento, bringing thugs and gangsters and druggies to church and telling them about Jesus.  He is a contractor/construction guy by trade, but a minister by heart, something he and Susan seem to share.  They’ve known Jerry and Pat Westfall for about 20 years, and were asked about 8 months ago to come stay at the ranch and help Pat and Jerry run the place.  Since then, Lance and Susan have plugged into the little Baptist church in Mendocino as their home, but they participate in ministries with the Presbyterian church as well.

Even having met Lance for only a short time, and having only a few short conversations, he and I both acknowledged that there’s a brotherly connection there that we want to keep up with.  Iron sharpens iron, ya know? Susan and Alene hit it off pretty well, too.  We look forward to continuing our relationship and deepening our friendships!

God has been so gracious this week!

No comments: