Martin Family Week (Part 1)

martin-family-week

The years go by, fifty years to be exact, since Ruth and I said, “I do and I will.” God gave us four children, three daughters and one son. The children have grown and all have children of their own. Now there are 14 wonderful grandchildren, 9 granddaughters and five grandsons, ages 2 to 18. And most importantly each of the children and their spouses know and love Jesus Christ. And each couple longs to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings to a greater extent as they prepare the third generation to hunger after Him and as they actively advance the Kingdom in their respective communities. All are busy and at times stressed and distressed with life’s challenges.

So Ruth and I decided to spend a week with the family for a time of deeper connection and refreshment. We found a house that could contain the 24 of us along Lake Gaston, near Bracey, Virginia, not far from the North Carolina border. We checked in Friday, August 14th and we will check out Friday, August 21st. We “ordained’ our oldest daughter Gwen and her husband Chauncey as directors of the Martin Family Week. As we arrived each person was given a white T-shirt with a logo designed by Elisa Martin, Vaughn and Ilona’s daughter from Belgium. The logo depicts an anchor with the words “ 50 years of unquenchable love, Ruth and E. Daniel, Song of Solomon 8:7. The reference states” many waters cannot quench love.”

It has been a great time of laughing and crying and praying and playing together. The men went “jugging” for catfish. They were successful with the largest of the many fish measuring over 30 inches. There was a notebook design contest led by Hannah, Chauncey and Gwen’s daughter. Ruth led a “Sole Hope” shoemaking party one afternoon. Children and adults cut out denim shoe uppers to send to a ministry making shoes for Ugandan children to keep them from getting the deadly jiggers in their feet. Even the 4 year old, Ian, entered into this activity energetically and productively. Each day two teenagers were assigned to secretly monitor the family for acts of kindness and gratefulness. Each evening the winners were announced along with a description of their behavior which was rewarded with a $5 gift.

There was ample time for swimming off the water trampoline just off the dock at the foot of the hill. Then there was boating, and water skiing and canoeing and more fishing. The labor of food preparation and clean up was evenly scheduled across the family. There was time also for some movie watching in the in-home theatre. On Monday evening we had a grand 18th birthday party for Elisa, which included a piñata in the shape of a guitar, designed and manufactured by her sister Ruby and her grandmother Ruth.

I, as family patriarch, I guess that is what I am at age 71, had a family devotional each morning. And each evening the families took turns in conducting the vesper service. One evening we gave opportunity for each couple to state what was most challenging to them in the past year and then we prayed and gave prophetic words and words of blessing over each one. On another evening Vaughn gave a teaching on the needs of children. Each child needs four things: 1) Love 2) Discipline 3) Protection and 4) The Miracle of God revealing Himself to each heart.

I am spending personal time with each grandchild. and with each of their parents separately, learning of their hopes and fears and praying with them.

We are now half way through the week. Many are presently out on a shopping trip. And I am here, writing this post and extolling the mercies of the Lord.

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