Monday, February 5, 2018

A Reflective Friendship Weekend

Back in the mid 70's and 80's four couples of us were often together for state-wide church music events.  Bonnie, Vicki and I were Preschool and Children Music Specialists under Nancy who was the Louisiana Baptist State Children's Music Director.  Dick, Marvin and Richard were Ministers of Music and Wayne was a pastor.

For several years our families traveled together for Music Week at Glorieta Baptist Assembly near Santa Fe, New Mexico.  We have such wonderful memories of these times together.


This was our family with Marvin and Vicki Smith and their boys in 1981 at Glorieta.

Life happens and friendships often suffer the greatest consequences and we all allowed about 25 years to elapse before we reconnected.

Wayne and Nancy retired from the pastorate in Texas and moved back to north Louisiana to begin a new ministry in 2013.  This past Thursday, the eight of us were together again for a wonderful weekend of picking right up where we left off.  Isn't that the most amazing thing about a beautiful and true friendship?


Abbie Lane is named for Nancy's mother and is built on land that belonged to Nancy's family and where she grew up.  There is a beautiful chapel now where the house once stood.


The purpose of Abbie Lane is to support and serve spiritual servants through encouragement and rest.  It is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing rest and renewal for individuals in vocational ministry, such as Ministers, Missionaries, Evangelists, Denominational Leaders, Chaplains, and/or spouses.


Located on a wooded 80 acre lot, it consists of a chapel, main house, and three guest cabins.


This ministry was established by a family of three generations of ministers, who after having experienced tremendous ministerial conflict and pain, have come out strong and victorious.  It is from this that Wayne, Nancy and the ministerial staff are able to provide counsel and support to others.



The Spears Chapel


Marvin and Vicki's cabin, The Father's House


Richard and Bonnie stayed in The Potter's House


Ours was the Prophet's House



The beautiful and spacious main house is where the personal ministry takes place as two meals a day are provided around a large family table.


These meals together were such fun, special times of sharing for us.  By the way, Nancy prepared three meals a day for us. 


When two church pianists get together, there has to be music.


Perhaps the highlight of the 80 acres are the prayer gardens that the Spears have tirelessly worked to  create.

Let me take you on a spiritual walk through the woods.




 "And they came to a place named Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples, "Sit here until I have prayed."



"And they crucified Him, and divided up His garments among themselves, ... And they crucified two robbers with Him, one on His right and one on His left."



"And Joseph bought a linen cloth, took Him down, wrapped Him in the linen cloth, and laid Him in a tomb which had been hewn out of the rock...And looking up they saw that the stone had been rolled away, although it was extremely large.  And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting at the right, wearing a white robe; and they were amazed.  And he said to them, 'Do not be amazed; you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who has been crucified.  He has risen; He is not here."


Wayne said one would see something similar to this (below) today in the town of Emmaus possibly the home of the two disciples.



As two people walked toward the village of Emmaus, they encountered Jesus but did not recognize Him. Jesus taught what the Old Testament had predicted about Himself. When they arrived in Emmaus that evening, the two disciples stopped to eat, and they asked Jesus to join them. He did, and as He broke the bread and blessed the meal, “their eyes were opened”, and they recognized Him. 



Wayne explained that this is one of only a few oaks in the pine forest.  It has obviously been struck by lighting in the past but it did not reach the base and root of the tree.


The Oak of Moreh is mentioned in Genesis 12:6 as a place near Shechem where Abraham camped on arriving in Canaan from Haran. There God revealed Himself to Abraham with the promise to give Canaan to his descendants, whereupon Abraham responded by building his first altar to the Lord in Canaan. It must have been a “holy” tree, and the place of an old Canaanite sanctuary. 



"And the Lord came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain and the Lord called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up....When the LORD finished speaking with Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant, written by the finger of God."



"When all the nation had finished passing over the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, “Take twelve men from the people, from each tribe a man, and command them, saying, ‘Take twelve stones from here out of the midst of the Jordan, from the very place where the priests' feet stood firmly, and bring them over with you and lay them down in the place where you lodge tonight.’



"Samuel then took a large stone and placed it between the towns of Mizpah and Jeshanah. He named it Ebenezer (which means "the stone of help"), for he said, "Up to this point the LORD has helped us!"



Mount Moriah is the mount on which Abraham offered Isaac in Genesis 22.
"And Abraham stretched out his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.  But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, and said, 'Abraham, Abraham!...Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God..."


This is one of the lessons I learned from our time in the gardens:
It is not so important how much faith we have, but how much do we love God!


Wayne designed and had made his own burning bush and it is an amazing sight.




"Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ."


May His love be reflected in our lives as we go forth!

Thank you Wayne and Nancy for a memorable reunion and a spiritual renewal.


Linking with Amaze Me Monday

5 comments:

  1. What a beautiful retreat and such a lovely way to reconnect with some dear friends. Lovely post, Elizabeth. Enjoy your weekend.

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  2. Special blessings on this couple for creating this place. I know the need of this first hand as a pastor’s daughter. I pray this place will always be full with church leaders who realize their need for spiritual renewal.
    My daughter has served the church faithfully for many years as soloist, children’s choirs director and music teacher in our daily preschool. She is experiencing burnout. I am encouraging her to step back for a time and be fed rather than always feeding. Please pray with me that she will.

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  3. Oh I enjoyed that soo much. Thank you for taking us on that walk! What a wonderful idea and ministry this is. And soo necessary too. Enjoy the rest of your week!

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  4. I recognized Bonnie and Richard!!!! They live right here in the little town I live in!!! Small world, eh?!!

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  5. What a wonderful weekend that must have been and such a beautiful spot. I love the idea of this place and could actually use a retreat like that about now. Thank you for the tour of the garden, what a special place. Baptist? We are members of a Baptist church too.

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