We have now been at Granbury Street for twelve years. That means that the upcoming high school graduates were in kindergarten when I arrived. Throughout that time period, we have done a lot of different things together. Youth devotionals, visitation groups, Bible Search, Open Forum, Gospel Meetings, Singings, Summer Series, Family Summer Series, trips with families, Green Valley Bible Camp, more than a thousand different sermons, and a number of various studies have been with us through that journey together. Not everyone is still around that greeted us that first Sunday, but many others are now with us filling some of those roles and taking on different responsibilities. However, while some of our activities and events change, and while some of the families have also changed, your generosity and kindness and my thankfulness for you have not changed. I would like to take a moment to expand briefly on the comments I made Sunday night at our annual Christmas party.
My family and I have been the recipients of such wonderful generosity over the years from this congregation. And certainly every year at this dinner has been special. But tonight, in the midst of your generosity, I am thinking about other things too. I am so thankful for how generous you have been with your friendship. It means so much to me that I can look over the crowd and see not only brethren, but friends—family—even when the lessons are difficult and times are hard. I am thankful for how generous you have been with your patience. I am probably more aware of my weaknesses than anyone—except perhaps Tracy. And I am thankful for the opportunity to grow and improve. I am thankful for how generous you have been with your encouragement. You probably will never understand how important that is—what prayers and just a few words of appreciation for a class or sermon can mean. I was reminded of this again both in the morning and evening on Sunday. I am thankful for how generous you have been with your time. People have volunteered their time to step in and help with any number of things we needed—more often than we can count. I am thankful for how generous you have been with your support—especially through health issues and various other trials. We have received so many gestures of kindness that it is impossible to list. Truthfully, we cannot remember them all, but we do remember our brethren who have come to our aid so often. I am thankful for each of you and all of you—for all of these reasons, and more.