Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Our Special Friends

These are our special friends, Phil and Shirley. Our kids call them “Grandpa Phil” and “Grandma Shirley” because even though we are not related by blood, they have ‘adopted’ us as family. Our relationship began simply enough, by a visit to their church in 2003 while on pre-field ministry. The girls were around 1 and 2 years old at the time, and Phil and Shirley hosted our little family for a few nights during their church’s missionary conference. They probably fell in love with the girls first, because most children can do no wrong in Shirley’s sight (Owen may be testing that theory, though! Just kidding!) In fact, later that same year, Phil and Shirley drove three hours to our little apartment one evening around Christmas – just to bring homemade stockings and gifts for Eva and Isabel.

Since that time, we have enjoyed many more fun times in their company. Phil and Shirley love games and we have literally spent hours together around the table, trying to break Shirley’s famous winning streaks. But their friendship goes much deeper than just sharing the secrets of winning at Greedy (a very fun game that we now teach to others - just ask us next time you see us!)

This past summer as we were preparing for our big move to Texas, they told us they wanted to drive out to our side of the state to help us pack up our trailer. We will admit that while we looked forward to their company, we were a little skeptical about how much this newly-retired couple would be able to pull their weight. Boy, we were wrong … Let us just say that Phil and Shirley pulled their weight and ours (no pun intended!) Literally, they did not leave our side until the last item was locked into the trailer and the final dust was swept from the garage.

Along with my parents who had come to assist us, Phil and Shirley not only helped us pack, move things into storage, and load our trailer, but they also personally cleaned our kitchen appliances, cupboards, and even swept up the dirt of our garage with only a tiny handheld dustpan. If you look up the definition of the term “Christian servants” in the Bible dictionary, I think you will see their smiling faces!

This past month of January 2007, Phil and Shirley traveled all the way from Michigan to the southernmost tip of Texas in their motor home, just to be with our family for a month. One week when everything was most hectic and everyone was getting sick, they even came over to do our laundry for us! We thank the Lord for these very special friends who have shown their love to us in these tangible acts of love and kindness, and only hope that we in some small way have been a blessing to them as they have been to us. Tomorrow they begin that long drive back to Michigan (by way of Georgia) and they will be in our thoughts and prayers through the many miles.

To our special friends … We love you, Phil and Shirley!


mchristiegogirl@yahoo.com said...

Dear Stephanie, My sister Shirley Riemsma sent me your blogg. It took me two hours to get through it. I loved it all. Please don't put a lot of stuff in PINK. I don't see well enough that I can read pink. I'm so happy to meet you through Shirley and I will be praying for you and your family. You have beautiful children. Congratulations on the birth of your fourth child. He is such a blessed baby to be in your family. Also I wanted you to know that I raised a granddaughter who is now 17 years old and a senior in high school. For years I kept every school paper, picture and project she came home with. I had it in our basement and we had a leak one day and a lot of it got ruined. I was broken hearted and then I happpened to think, why not take a picture, so now that is what I do with her things and then I don't have to look for boxes to store all of these keep sakes in and if you scrapbook, they can look at their work for years to come. It is easier than hauling out a big old box and then having it not be the box you wanted. I'm also praying for your friend, Pastor Manuel Logos. God Bless You and your precious family.
In Christ Love,
May Christie

shirley riemsma said...

This was so special to look at on March 1, 2013. To think of all the wonderful times we have had since that year in Texas. We hated to leave but we promised we would be home by Feb.18 as our youngest grandson was to be Baptised..This past summer we were privaliged to share our home with all seven of them. The kids had so much fun with frogs out of our little pond. We were amazed at how well the kids all got along and how well behaved they were. As well as being great missionaries they are wonderful parents. Belive me you all have been a blessing to us. We wished we could go see you in Chile but I'm afraid we will never make it there but you will always be in our prayers.Love in Christ, Grandpa Phil and Gramma Shirl

shirley riemsma said...

I just wrote you a mushy how much we Love you guys and your wonderful interesting family. How we enjoyed your family this past summer and how well behaved your children are, How much fun they had with the frogs out of the pond. We never feel like we have to entertain you. We always hoped we would be able to go to Chile sometime but I think we will all have to be content knowing you are in our prayers always. Love and Prayers, Grandpa Phil and Gramma Shirley. Hope this goes through