As our hearts are turned toward giving thanks this time of year, I have been thinking about all of my blessings. My heart has been full of thankfulness for someone who is very special to our family and we had the wonderful pleasure of spending some time with him a few weeks ago as he traveled from Florida to visit with us and celebrate Mike's 50th Birthday. This special someone is known to our family as "Pastor Erick"
A few years ago Mike had the wonderful opportunity to meet the pastor of a new and growing church near our home in FL. His relationship with this pastor began with business as Mike was hired to assist the church in efforts to acquire land for a new church building. Little did we know that this early business relationship would be the beginning of what God had planned to be a beautiful friendship. Over the course of a few years we decided to visit this church and I guess you could say, "the rest is history". Not only did we feel as though we were "home" in this church but our friendship with Pastor Erick and his beautiful family grew and deepened in a way that we could have never suspected. Pastor Erick always made us feel so welcomed and treasured as we attended church and we all truly looked forward to going to services each week. Our Cody couldn't wait to hear Pastor Erick and the girls just loved Sunday School. It was such a sweet place to be and was made that way because of the man who leads the flock. In a day of mega churches where people attend churches and never get the opportunity to know their pastor intimately, I am so happy that I know my pastor and he knows me but most of all I am blessed to call him friend. Pastor Erick is a man who maintains the true meaning of shepherding his flock. He doesn't exalt himself above his congregation but frequently puts himself last. He truly sacrifices himself for his church and is the first one on the scene if someone is in need. He is tender, compassionate and most of all incredibly "real". He loves my family like his own and although he and my husband are very different I love seeing how much fun they have together. Erick's wife, Patty is as equally tenderhearted and loving and I just love to be in her presence. She is such a wonderful example of a loving wife and mom. Their 4 children are just precious and both Patty and Erick share the passions of our hearts for orphaned children having adopted their Jenna from Taiwan. Pastor Erick's recent visit was such a treat and reminded me that although physical distance may separate us, our family will ALWAYS consider Pastor Erick our "pastor" WE LOVE YOU ERICK!