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It has been two and a half years since we moved from our home in Meeker to Longmont. Some of you probably do not remember us after that length of time, but I would like to reflect on the years we spent in Meeker, for those of you who do.
Those who know us, know that leaving the place of our ministry and home and dear friends was very difficult for us. Leaving was never part of the original plan, but due to failing health and the financial difficulties that accompany health problems, we simply could not find a solution that would allow us to stay. Hence, the move to Longmont with our son Thomas and his wife, Meby. Thomas is the Spanish-speaking minister and the music leader at Rangeview Worship Center here in Longmont. We still find it incredible that our American son has become a fluent Spanish speaker. I think some of you are in contact with him and Carolyn (our daughter in California) on Facebook.
A year ago, my husband sustained another heart attack, and this time we had only minutes to get him to the hospital. He ended up needing quintuple bypass surgery, and spent a couple of weeks in the hospital. Thankfully, he has recovered well.
We still travel and preach and sing for friends in the ministry when it is possible. I am also physically compromised at this point. For reasons unknown, the cartilage in my hips has all but disintegrated. This makes it hard for me to walk or stand for any length of time. As you can imagine, these are trying times. But, oh, the grace and mercy of God that we have been swept into through all of this.
I went back to college this spring to learn to teach English as a second language. Life is so unpredictable, yet challenging and wonderful all at the same time. It has been an incredible learning experience, though I still have a long way to go.
We think of you all often, and every now and then, I close my eyes and picture Sixth Street, or upriver, or Trappers Lake, or Seventh Street where we lived for at least 10 years. Where did the time go? Our second poodle, Calvin, whom we got from Ruth Medlin, is now 14 years old. There are days when I feel like singing an old hymn at the Walbridge Wing, or I picture one of the beautiful outdoor weddings, or baptisms where my husband officiated. Yes, the memories are tucked away somewhere deep in our hearts.
We are only a few hours away, but visiting is not easy for us. When we do visit, it is usually very short and for the purpose of ministering at the little church on Ninth Street that we loved and shepherded for so long. If we do not happen to see you while we are visiting, please know that you have a forever place in our hearts, we have probably spoken your name in prayer, and we miss seeing your smile and hearing your voice.
Shortly before we moved away, I think I had started taking the special uniqueness of Meeker for granted. I did not appreciate waving hello to friends and neighbors, and always seeing someone I knew at the post office. Now, I can’t tell you how much those memories mean. There are many, many more, so many in fact that I could go on for hours, but that is not my purpose in writing today. I just wanted to say, “Thank you” for lessons learned, friendship, beauty and the opportunity to share in your lives and community.
The Rev. Bill and Leanne Gibson