1. The birth of our fourth grandchild, Macey Jo Parrish, on October 2. At one point, she was due on my birthday. That didn't happen, but she happened, and are there any greater blessings than grandchildren?
2. Bible-storying in Paris with men from Taiba, Senegal. Our church has been building relationships with the people of Taiba for three years now. We minister to them in Paris and in their village in Senegal. They are warm, hospitable people who give us as much as we give them. We've offered medical, dental, and eye-glass care for them. On our last trip to Senegal they allowed us to show the Jesus film. But Paris in October is the first opportunity we've had to engage them in spiritual conversations based on Bible stories. That is the beginning of an answer to many prayers, and it was a thrill to be a part of it. The fact that my son was able to be in on it too just made it all the more a highlight for 2010.
3. A man named Danny who came to know Jesus. Before they moved to a new state, Danny's wife and sons were a part of our church family. Danny played some softball on one of our teams and visited church occasionally, but labled himself as an atheist. Slowly, and on the wings of many prayers, Danny became a bit more open to Christ and His claims. I received an email from his wife earlier this week telling me that Danny made a decision to follow Jesus. What a great reminder of patient prayers and waiting on God!
4. My sabbatical. I get one of these every few years. The church allowed me to take off for the whole month of August. We traveled to see family. We visited Washington, D.C. for the first time. I got to watch the Baltimore Orioles (my favorite team in my childhood) in Camden Yards. And I actually got some rest—well, a little.
5. Insanity. No, not a mental illness; an exercise program. It's 63 days of the most intense cardio work I've ever done. I do a lot of intense exercise, but when I finished day 1, I told my wife, "That was the most intense thing I've ever done in exercise." When I finished day 2, I told her, "That was the most intense thing I've ever done." It is a butt-kicking, body-shaping, fat-burning, muscle-sculpting workout. It's insane. And I was so thankful to God and proud of myself that I actually finished. Who knows? I may do it again in 2011.
9. FBC Fitness. Last spring our church started a fitness ministry. It's been touch and go financially, but we're seeing lives getting whole and healthy physically and spiritually! We've opened another door to Christ and the church and God is using it, and I'm grateful.