Every three years my family gets together with my sibs and their kids for a family reunion. This year we went to Bend, Oregon, so that my sister Ann and her family could participate more easily, but I have to say, everybody thought Bend was a GREAT place for a reunion, so I don’t think it would matter whether or not you have relatives in the area! Set amidst the volcanic ash of central Oregon, Bend is a paradise for outdoor sports! During the week, some to most all of us enjoyed many grand adventures such as white water rafting down the McKenzie River, horseback riding (Carlie’s picture), mountain biking (I missed that one!), hikes around crystal clear lakes, along gurgling rivers, and up to thundering waterfalls. We all enjoyed delightful picnics, swimming, hot tubbing, and lots of time relaxing, eating together, playing with cousins, and just generally having a marvelous time getting caught up with each other. We did lots of exploring too, where we learned about new things. We hiked through Lava Beds National Monument, felt awed by the view from Lava Butte, and felt the chilling dark of the Lava Tube Cave. We got to be “up close and personal” with some of the wild life, saw many fascinating critters at the High Desert Museum, and watched a video about volcanoes and the formation of central Oregon. The whole week was one exhilarating, exhausting barrel of fun! On vacation, I also read the book I Believe in Heaven, and it’s made me think about a wonderful future “family reunion” which will end—not in Bend— but in heaven some day. When we come to the end of our adventures in this world, many people who have “near death” experiences report the sensation of traveling through a tunnel…either into blackness or (more often) into warmth and light. Jesus actually rose from the dead, and he’s promised to transport everybody who trusts in him safely down the river of life (so to speak) and into heaven. We don’t know too much about heaven, but it sounds like it will be even more wonderful than earth…where we’ll have an eternal reunion with loved ones, meet relatives and make new friends from all over the world…past and present, and where we’ll have an eternity of new opportunities for growth, learning, loving, and adventuring in a heavenly kingdom of goodness and grace.I am so looking forward to heaven, and I hope you are too!
“Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3-4).