Year after year I have been privileged to write a Christmas newsletter for uploading to the CalvaryRoadBaptist.Church website. This has been made possible by the church’s original and only webmaster, Carlos Gonzalez (my little Carlito). I have thanked him before, but it is about time I publicly thank him up front for making my life so much easier by his behind the scenes work to give us a sharp Internet presence (1). Thank you, Carlos.
We began the year with a month of missions, having Bill and Margaret Hathaway (2) the first Sunday of the month and Dustin and Carla Reinhardt (3) the final Sunday of the month, the first being very senior servants of God and the final being very young servants of God. In the middle of the month wifey (4) and I met Pastor Bob Nolan (5) in Tampa, Florida to rendezvous with Bro. and Ruth K (6). Pastor Nolan traveled to Israel with me the summer of 2014 (shown at the Garden Tomb with his Arab guide Carl) (7), when he fell in love with Bro. K’s ministry and congregation in Jerusalem (8, 9, 10). Our meeting in Tampa was designed to formulate a plan to raise money for the purchase of the building the church meets in, providing an element of stability in a very unstable part of the world. Imagine an independent Baptist church owning its own building in Jerusalem! If you want to get involved in that go online to find how here.
We also had our annual Missions Conference, doing things a bit differently with Pastor Bob Nolan, from Lafayette, Louisiana at the church for a Families By Faith conference (11). His ministry was well-received by our people and blessed by God with fruit. For the sake of convenience the church women held a birthday party for Pam on February’s last Saturday, before her March birth date. It was a real blessing. Oh, what it does for a pastor’s ministry when the people he serves to honor his wife!
This month is always special for me since it is the ever-young wifey’s birthday (12). Oh, how I appreciate the many ways she makes life so very livable in the Waldrip household. As you see, she is a beast in the gym. Thanks, Babe. The month was also special because we once again had opportunity to emphasize missions. Pam and I flew to Omaha so I could preach at Faith Baptist Church in Kearney, Nebraska, immensely enjoying our time with Clarence and Olga Patterson (13). Just before our trip, however, the church hosted Dr. Jonathan Sarfati, an analytical chemist, creation scientist, and wonderful conference speaker (14). Following him, Terry Cantrell (15), Marvin O’Dell (shown with Theresa) (16), and Garry Matheny (17) joined faithful church member Brian Spicer (18) in preaching. After our return, Harvey and Linda Goodman (19) were with us while returning home from Australia and a good visit with Chris and Sophia Goodman (20). Their stated purpose for going was ministry, but by strange coincidence their cherished grandson Christopher also happened to be there (21).
One reason I enjoy writing my annual Christmas Newsletter is the delight I get from the Lord to rehearse His many blessings. My, how our church loves and wonderfully supports God’s heroes, the missionaries. The month began with Peter and Jean Ard (22) who were with us the evening of Easter Sunday. A few days later Dr. Samuel Rai arrived for almost a week (23). While here he spoke to pastors gathered at First Baptist Church, Fillmore, where Dr. George Golden serves (24). He also conducted a discipleship seminar (25) and preached a Sunday evening service (26) before his departure. Our church has prayed and sacrificially given to support his ministry in Nepal following the devastating earthquake that took so many lives and devastated so many church buildings. Details for those who want to contribute to the Nepal Relief Fund to help Dr. Samuel Rai’s marvelous relief and recovery efforts can obtain information by email from firstname.lastname@example.org. The month was rounded out by Mrs. Pat Simmons speaking at our annual Ladies Tea, and Pastor Ken Simmons preaching on the last Sunday of the month (27), and The Dartts closing out the month on Wednesday night (28).
This was a pretty quiet month for us, with Mothers Day at the beginning of the month and Memorial Day at the end. We did enjoy the company of Pastor Bill Snodderly and his precious wife Nadine (29) who are now serving at Lighthouse Baptist Church in Vacaville. If you know any unchurched folks in that area please consider recommending them to that ministry.
The month of June holds special memories for four reasons: First, the month was a time of Saturday night preparation at the beginning of our weekly evangelism time, with Mike DiGiovanna getting us ready for Vacation Bible School (30). Mike is one of our church’s many capable trainers and organizers, who compliment my profound deficiencies in that area of ministry. We could not have our great annual VBS without that devoted group of workers and helpers, and their willingness to get ready each summer to do it right. Second and third, we had Eugene Kozachenko and family (31), with longtime friend Dr. Daniel Pacheco bringing our Christian school’s commencement address (32). God is so very good to me in providing such godly friends as are listed throughout this newsletter. I am overwhelmed to have such men as friends, men who are available to me during times of need. Finally, June was the month I turned sixty-five years of age. Since they were on furlough and in the area, Bro. K and his family showed up (33). It was also a chance to celebrate Ruth K’s birthday (34). Afterwards, the Waldrips and the K’s went out for Mexican food at Rudy’s, with Sarah, Peter, and Kristi there and only George missing (35). May I say that I can hardly imagine being this age? The disconnect between my obvious physical age and my not-so-obvious mental age is staggering to me. That said, no one appreciates any old geezer belly-aching about how old and feeble he is, and God is wonderful in using advancing age in His children’s lives to teach us with each passing day our urgent and ongoing need for His wonderful grace.
This was the month in which we actually conducted our Vacation Bible School once more, this time from Tuesday through Saturday evenings. Things went remarkably well as God answered our prayers and blessed the dedication of those who practiced and practiced to get ready. We were also thrilled that a family we all loved who moved away helped to finance VBS this year with a generous amount of support. It was encouraging and appreciated. Ken Barbosa (36) and Dominic Farrar (37) were among those who did a great job. The month closed out with Shannon Coe once more wonderfully used of God in the Women Retreat in Solvang (38, 39).
With the Women Retreat winding up on August 1, David Coe once again preached stirring messages Sunday morning and evening (40). I just cannot understand why churches hold only one service on Sunday. There is so much to do and so much Bible truth to preach that once on Sunday seems so constricting. We were also blessed by Bro. and Ruth K passing through yet again on furlough to show us a short video of their ministry in Jerusalem. Our Man & Boy retreat in Wrightwood was held at Camp Kare (41). I do so love the men and young fellows God brings our way and am thrilled to see them grow in grace and deepen in their Christian walks, in their manliness, and in their gracious humility and determination to be something for Christ’s sake. I am so thankful for Matthew 12.17-21, showing how unlike my Lord is from so many ministries I observed in my early years as a Christian. The Savior is ever the gentle shepherd toward those who are humble and meek-spirited:
17 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying,
18 Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles.
19 He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets.
20 A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory.
21 And in his name shall the Gentiles trust.
This is the month that we take up our Paycheck Sunday offering, which for years has been a huge part of our annual pattern of giving to the cause of Christ. This year, on Grandparents Day, I asked Pastor Bob Nolan to come back and preach to our folks, topping it off with a fine message at the banquet on Sunday night before the big offering (42). Once again, God blessed us wonderfully.
Pam and I celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary in muted fashion because of more important events scheduled for November, as you will see. A well-attended Harvest Party for young adults and our Christian Alternative To Halloween was successful, despite the fact that it was scheduled for the night before our Event 110.
This was the month we had been anticipating and preparing for all year, that we designated Event 110 to represent the fortieth anniversary of the founding of Calvary Road Baptist Church (43), the thirtieth anniversary of my arrival as the church’s second pastor (44), and the fortieth anniversary of my marriage to Pamela Lucille Franco (45). It was a two Sunday affair, November 1 and November 8, with the first Sunday featuring an event for our community. I began by thanking businessman Fred Bowden for being such a friend to our church over the years (46). L. A. County Supervisor Mike Antonovich (47) congratulated our church, congratulated Pam and me (48), and I then presented the man who has represented us so well in elected office over the years with a page from the King James Version of the Bible that had been printed in 1622 (49) as a token of our appreciation. Monrovia Mayor Tom Adams and Monrovia Mayor Pro Tem Larry Spicer presented our church with a nice certificate (50), and I presented them each a copy of Alvin J. Schmidt’s fine book, Under The Influence: How Christianity Transformed Civilization (51). Bro. K was on hand to preach, accompanied by his wife Ruth (52). Mike Orlicky, founding pastor of Coastside Baptist Church in Half Moon Bay and his wife were also with us (53). He preached the Sunday evening service. We enjoyed fine catered food after the morning service (54). November 8 was a more “just us” celebration, our congregation is shown here in an earlier picture (55). I preached the morning service, after which I recognized some wonderful people: Those who have been here thirty years include the Moyers (56), the Carrekers (57), the Arnolds (58), the Frenches (59), and Violet Rodarte, Monica Quintero & Doreen Chavez (60). Finally, a nice picture with my wife and our church’s wonderful deacons and their wives (61). After our potluck meal Marvin O’Dell and the Red Hot Rhythm Rustlers presented us with a wonderful concert, capped off by a message brought by Marvin (62). The entire month well, ending with Pies At Pastor’s House after Bible study the night before Thanksgiving.
As I write this newsletter reports are streaming in from San Bernardino of a recent deadly attack on office workers by a heavily armed Muslim couple who murdered colleagues at anoffice Christmas party who had only months before blessed them with a baby shower for their firstborn. Some fourteen are dead at last report and seventeen injured. Sadly, what others have endured in other parts of the world seems to now be happening more frequently here closer to home. Thankfully, God is ever faithful. May God bless each of you as you fervently pray for one another.
Please reach out to me by email to keep me informed and current with your life. I would be honored to pray for you when called upon. You can email me by going to the Contact Dr. Waldrip link on the front page of the church website. I look forward to hearing from you. Merry Christmas and may God bless you, from the Waldrip family (63).
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