When we arrived in Flint four years ago we were filled with a sense of great inadequacy. God sent help and sustained us in ways for which there is no human explaination. There were times early-on when I battled an oppressive spirit, but by the grace of God that gave way to joy and purpose and fellowship. We saw the hand of the Lord on what we were doing. The years in Flint were good years of ministry that we will always remember with great fondness. If you were there you know.
The Les Means Family
The Dave Teitz Family
Calvin and Chad Bradley and their family
Family Enrichment Weekends
Young Ladies’ Winter Gatherings
Common meals with laughing friends
Late-night talks around the Front Desk
Helping people feel at home
Meeting new friends
The French Laundry
The HomeSchool Bookstore
Parshalville Mill on autumn days
Linden “Kitty-litter” beach and the oak wood above it on the Lord’s Day
Byron Baptist and Family Fellowship Bible Church
Going “Up-North” across the “Mighty Mac”
Piano in the lobby
Luther and Melvin and Punkin’ off the streets
Bruce Smock and the DDA
The Mayor and the former Mayor
Jerry Preston and the Conventio Bureau
Grand Traverse Pie Company
Empire Bluff and outings at Lake Ann
Hot-air baloons over Seven Lakes in the evening
Kim and the Cookbook and Heart for Hospitality
The Chili-Pepper Jumpers and Isaiah’s Chili-Pepper Pants!
Francis and Francis
The Keilen sisters
The night of the “intruder” when all the men showed up armed.
Team of Destny
The house music system
Feeding the Fish
Eli Schilling and the Schilling family “bltizes”
Mark Hancock Family
The Skinner Family
Early morning security
Going to Knoxville and Nashville and Indy
The Christmas Conference
Water in the Basement
No more water in the Basment
Swimming in the flooded Flint river
My favorite running route U of M Flint Campus, along the River, through Kersley Park across the Mott Campus, through the College and Cultural neighborhood, past the Mott Estate and home.
Speedwork on the High School track
Tim Hortons and Starbucks and Big Apple
Jessica and Nathan Davoli
The “Mother of all Vacuums”
Sixth-floor, late-night boxing matches
Papa Shoe and the Shoemakers
Cleaning toilets and sinks
The smell of fabric softner off the third-floor Mayor’s Room
Making coffee in the back of the TGI Restaurant (Riverfront Restaurant)
Chalk Art and the Bowmans
Visits from Mr. Gothard and his team
Russ Bennett and the Novotni family
There are hundreds of others but these are the ones that flowed into my mind as I considered the things the Lord has done in Flint. He is good.
We left Flint after church Sunday morning without fanfare. There were just a few left to say goodbye and it was appropriately dreary and gray. We drove away in a mist of rain. It didn’t seem quite final for a couple reasons. One is that the building has not sold, and the other is that we are already scheduled to spend another week there September 10-17. When we leave Flint again on the 17th we have no concrete plans to return.
Nonetheless, the burden of the sixth-largest hotel in the state of Michigan is no longer on my shoulders. Now we are still with the same ministry but our responsibilities will be different. For the first time in four years we will live in a regular home and that will be helpful for our family at this time in our lives.
It’s almost September, one of my two favorite months of the year. There’s a faint hint of autumn color in the trees. I love September and October. Raised in the mid-west, I have loved autumn since I walked home from school in my sneakers crunching through maple leaves on the sidewalk.