Our Final Day in Paradise

Greg Stier
Greg Stier
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January 2006 165.jpgThe last day of our family vacations are always bittersweet. Bitter because it’s the last day of a concentrated time of fun in the sun. Sweet because we have just created some powerful and lasting memories together. Here are some of the memories we created this last week in Maui:

1. Jeremy snorkels for the first time (with some assistance from mom) At first he was convinced that there were alligators in the ocean, so much so that he had me a little nervous. But we finally convinced him that it was sharks not alligators that he should be worried about (just kidding…kind of.)

2. Kailey creating the buzz on the plane on the way. A lot of times when I fly I get stuck on a plane nJanuary 2006 167.jpgext to that family. You know, the family with an especially loud, crying or disruptive child. Well guess what? I realized that the Stier family is that family, thanks to our little lovely daughter Kailey. Now don’t get me wrong, twenty one month old Kailey can charm the socks off everyone with her little hand waves, her great big smile and her cute little words. But she is one stubborn child (I wonder where she got that from? Hmmmmm.) Are we intimidated by her independent spirit? Not in the slightest. In the words of Suzannah Wesley (mother of 19 including the great revivialists John and Charles Wesley), “We must break their will without breaking their spirit.” So our new goal is to break Kailey’s will and to harness that independent spirit for something powerful in the kingdom. What about Jeremy? If we can just keep him from pulling another fire alarm at an airport (happened three years ago at an airport in Pennsylvania and shall heretofore be referred to as The Incident) we will be more than happy.

3. Running out of gas on the top of a volcano (heretofore referred to as The Incident part 2) This includes the joy of sharing the gospel with a couple on the way down the volcano and a gardener named “Guy” on the way back up the volcano. BTW, Guy was the nicest guy. When he told me that he was a gardener I started sharing the gospel as a story of gardens. I started with the Garden of Eden and talked about how God’s original plan for mankind was for us to be gardeners in his personal paradise but sin entered the picture and A & E (the people not the network) were kicked out of the Eden and the evil weeds of sin and dandelions entered the picture. Then I jumped ahead to Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before his crucifixion. I finally ended in Revelation 22 talking about the tree that produces twelve different kinds of fruit in the New Jerusalem. All in all I was impressed with the analogies and transitions the Lord gave me to share with Guy on the way up. But Guy, the nice gardener, got really mad when I started sharing Jesus as the way, the truth and the life. It’s weird Guy was this peace and transcendental meditation kind of guy that got really out of balance (uncentered, the yin reeking havoc on the yang, etc) when I talked about Jesus as the only way to heaven.) Anyway, pray for Guy. I pray he believes in Jesus, the maker of everything good that grows in the garden.

4. Taking the road to Hana and finding our own little family area that we officially adopted as our very own.

5. Dropping the kids off at a day care center at the mall and having a date night at Mama’s Fish House (mmm mmm good) Bring your appetite and your wallet. It reminded me how blessed I am to have such a loving, lovely, courageous and compassionate wife who is the yin to my yang and who keeps me from being even more of a stubbornly conservative, radically one tracked mind raving, lunatic preacher. Thank you Jesus for my wife!

6. Finding Blackbeard’s treasure. Our last day we finally found Blackbeard’s treasure buried in the sand next to our hotel. We pieced together the clues left all week in different places across the island and on the back of these clues was a map. We followed the map to the exact coordinates and discovered the hidden treasure (a treasure chest I spotted in a kid’s toy store, complete with eye patch and 17 pieces of “gold”…ayyyyyyy matey!) My biggest joy coming back yesterday was watching Jeremy give away the pieces of gold to others around him. He really believes this is gold and is learning the power of Jesus words,

“It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

All in all it was a great family vacation. Thanks for taking the adventure with me!

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