I have a new friend! I belong to a men's group that attends morning Mass at the cathedral and meets afterwards for prayers and discussion. A few months ago, a new member mentioned he is in the early stages of Alzheimers. After everyone else left, we had a long conversation comparing notes. We have so many things in common, the same frustrations, limitations, etc. Like John, I am still able to drive short distances but neither of us can drive to unfamiliar places without getting hopelessly lost! John picks me up for grouping. Between the two of us, we can usually get to the cathedral without getting lost. John is quite strong and has been a great help at the Harvest House Ministry Center warehouse as we got ready for our first furniture sale. It is quite comical when we try to do some of the things we used to know how to do but no longer can. It is like the blind leading the blind. (One tip everyone can use - after trying to find my tape measure for what seems to be the millionth time, John pulled out the tape about 2 feet, locked it in place and set it down with the blade standing straight up. Now we can look straight ahead and usually find it. The only problem now is remembering to pull out the blade! You can't teach an old dog new tricks.)
John has been a blessing in my life as well as Linda's. In Linda's life he counseled her on things she doesn't understand. For our anniversary we went to Marineland in Niagara Falls. Linda wanted to rent a wheelchair but I said no. Well, we did not get very far before I was too tired to walk any further. Our day ended too quickly for my whale-loving wife. When she mentioned it to John the next day he shared with her valuable wisdom. When she asked why I wouldn't let her get a wheelchair John told her "it's because we think we can do it." She now keeps the wheelchair in the car and I know enough not to argue with her thanks to John.
On a totally different subject....We have a sign in the Harvest House building that says "God answers all prayers. Sometimes He says "yes", sometimes He says "no", and sometimes He says, "are you kidding me?" Well after a lot of prayer regarding what to do as far as expanding Harvest House we were beginning to think the answer was "are you kidding me?" Harvest House needs to expand the education center. We are out of room. We also need to expand the Baby and Children's Ministry. It too has outgrown its space. We have the space at the Jefferson Avenue building for both expansions but of course we did not have the money. Linda had worked very hard applying for two competitive grants but neither was successful. We felt we were a perfect match for two of the grants she applied for. The organizations felt otherwise. We were frustrated. As I mentioned in my last Gary's corner, while we were in Europe we prayed in many basilicas for the future of Harvest House, the Baby and Children's Ministry and New Hope Education Center. One clear message I kept hearing over and over was "you need to make the education center more Christian." Linda emailed our education director from Italy and asked if it was possible for the teachers to start class by asking if any student needed prayers or would like to pray for something. As expected he said absolutely not. Well, the students might not be able to pray in class but that doesn't mean they can't pray in the building. We decided to take a small room and make it into an interfaith chapel where students and teachers can go for quiet time, prayer and reflection. Once we committed to adding a chapel to the education center, God rewarded us with a great big YES.
Two grants from local foundations and one grant from a private foundation came through and we feel we are now on our way. Even with 17 years experience at Harvest House, it is still very hard to know what it is we want or what God wants. Faith in God, includes faith in His timing. We have raised a little more than half of the money needed and Linda is working on two more grants. Please keep this project in your prayers.
In Christ's Love,