Mayra and I have the wonderful privilege of being supported by Valley Bible Church, in the San Francisco Bay area. We hadn’t visited the church since 2007, so it was about time! We arrived in Oakland Friday night, and came back early on Monday, so we didn’t have too much time with our friends there, but we did have enough time to return very encouraged by the love and grace evident at the church, renewed and refreshed in the gospel of Jesus (and probably a few lbs. heavier!).
A church often takes on the personality of its pastor. Often the entire ambient of a congregation often reflects the character and personality of its spiritual leader. Pastor Phil Howard is passionate about worship, loves the Word of God and people, and is so gracious, not to mention pretty laid back. The church is an awesome place to experience. Valley Bible is incredibly diverse. 7 people were baptized Sunday evening…people from Africa, Romania, the Phillipines, and Asia (I forget the exact country).
We stayed with Malcolm and Jo Lee, a wonderful couple that adopted us as their own and was so very gracious to us. Malcolm’s gente spirit reflected many years of working with the Bay Area Rescue Mission. Jo (the Queen mother) and friend Shelly gave us a great tour of San Francisco on Saturday, taking us to the Crookest Street, up to Twin Peaks, across the Golden Gate and much more. Lunch at Boudin’s, and a quick visit for chocolate and ice cream at Ghirardelli’s Square. We saw so much in such a short amount of time.
Below, a picture of us eating at The Dead Fish! Pastor Phil said he was eager for us to return to Mexico because we were costing him about $20 an hour just to feed us. That evening we went to Extreme Pizza with another family from the church.
Valley Bible is a church that doesn’t care so much for convention as it does for genuine, unabashed God-seeking and God-exalting.
Thanks so much, dear Lord Jesus! Thanks to all our dear friends at Valley Bible!