|With Sanford and Martha (photo by Brad)|
I'm so glad to be back safely with Alma Jean, who couldn't be with me (due to a combination of factors, including her not being able to get a passport in time), but she urged me to take in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be with my brother and his entire family.
Each of the three men in our family is an ordained minister, and Sanford and Martha moved to Costa Rica with their young family in the late 60's as a part of a church planting effort which has since resulted in the establishment of a dozen indigenous Anabaptist congregations and a growing publishing effort producing Spanish literature for people all over Central and South America.
I have always greatly admired my brothers, and was worried about Sanford's health when he experienced a serious heart condition several years ago. Our younger adopted sister perishing in a fire in December added to my urgency in wanting to go spend some time with Sanford and Martha, who were unable to attend the memorial service.
Then my dear oldest sister Lovina died Thursday at 4 pm after a series of strokes. I got to spend some priceless time with her Wednesday evening and then early Thursday morning before catching my Roanoke flight to Charlotte and to San Jose, but am so sad about not being able to have been at her memorial service Sunday.
Meanwhile, five unforgettable days with loved ones and without all of the stresses of work, constant news and other media distractions--and combined with a slower paced life in beautiful rural Costa Rica--felt like a taste of paradise.
|Sanford and Martha and their ten children (from youngest to oldest) at their reunion in Costa Rica Saturday|