Next Sunday, a group of children, youth and adults will come to our neighborhood to live in our homes for the week, paint the home of one of our church members and help prepare our tutoring center for a busy summer of ministry, and lead sports and art camps for children in our community. This will be the third (or fourth?) year that members of Pasadena Covenant Church have made this commitment to us, and I have to say that every year that we have done this, the week has proven to be one of the highlights of the year for me personally. For these couples and singles and families to take a week off from work and other commitments to “Vacation in L.A.” with us is remarkable. And I believe that it affords them the opportunity to give themselves in a way that is meaningful and transformative for them as well.
This year’s group that is coming includes a Fuller professor, our family doctor and our kids’ pediatrician. It also includes moms and dads with young kids, as well as high school students and retirees. Doug and I will be hosting the same family we have hosted every year, and I am amazed to consider how our love for them has grown over the years, and how they quite simply feel like family to us now. I am also amazed by how God has used this event to bless our neighborhood and draw people in our community deeper into relationship with him.
People often ask me how viable suburban/urban church partnerships can be (where it is more than just sending a check), and I am quick to point to the folks at Pasadena Covenant as perhaps the best example I know of of doing such a thing well. They are generosity, sacrifice, humility, partnership and commitment to us, and it encourages me to see the ways that this kind of unlikely pairing can be so beautiful and effective. “Vacation to L.A.” is only a piece of the relationship, but I think that it illustrates well the heart and character of this church toward us. Thank you, God, for giving us exactly what we need through these friends.