Daily Walking with God

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Walking in the Word

Plant City's First Baptist Church

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You will surely be missed, Paul.

The start of our family vacation to what most consider paradise was the start of a dear friend’s final vacation to true Paradise.

Our hearts ached, yet again, when we received the news of a close friend of eighteen years, Paul Conrad.  Donald Paul Conrad was a man who lived life to its fullest, loved big, and had a loud and contagious laugh. 

Paul and my husband both work for Edward Jones Investments.  When you work for this company, you don’t only have co-workers and gain friends, but you become a family.  Paul was like a big brother who was well respected by his peers.  When he was our regional leader, I remember the level of class that Paul led our region with.  He would have prayer said aloud before our meals, sport his tuxedo when officiating our final night of awards at banquets, and he was one who demonstrated humbleness, passion, compassion, and excellence.

Tim and I have had the privilege of traveling the world with Paul.  Talk living life…I’ve seen Paul ride a camel in the Sahara Desert, bungy jump and whitewater raft in Africa, fly fish and ride speed boats down a river in New Zealand, go deep sea fishing in Sea Island, Georgia, and march himself in a celebratory parade after a soccer game in Brazil.

That final mentioning in Brazil was hilarious!  A group of us had gone to a soccer game in Rio De Janerio. We had set up a place to meet after the game.  We were all standing at our meeting location and looked around to make sure everyone was present.  “Where’s Paul?” several of us said out loud.  Our eyes were scanning the crowd. A parade of fans from the winning team began walking past our group celebrating by waving flags, blowing horns, and singing. Much to our surprise, Paul had joined festive carnival with his knees marching up high and he was blowing a horn.  Oh what a sight!

 I just saw Paul last weekend at our EJ (family) summer regional meeting.  On the first night of dinner gatherings, Paul decided to play a prank and steal my phone while I was away socializing.  When I discovered that Paul was the culprit, I snapped a few pictures with my phone as evidence of the guilty party.  We laughed and posed.  Boy am I now grateful to have those pictures of my dear friend.

While reflecting on this whole tragic situation, and this past year to be even more precise, the sense of urgency fills my heart and mind.

Over the past five years Tim and I have had too many close family and friends pass that were between the ages of twenty to sixty-three.  I am grateful that all those loved ones are Christians and that I will see them again in Paradise.  But there are friends and acquaintances that I adore that are either not a Christian or I am not sure if they are or not.

There are friends who are great people!  They are compassionate and giving, but are they compassionate and have given their heart to Jesus Christ?  I’m not sure.

My sense of urgency is to walk up to my friends and ask them, “Are you a Christian?”  “Are you heaven-bound?”  If I approach you with those questions, please do not take offense.  I’m asking because I love you!  If I ask you and you are…high-five me, hug me, rejoice with me, and give a big “You bet!” response.  If you are not a Christian, please know that this earth is not our final destination.  This is not your “paradise”. There is much more and true living to be done after our time on earth is done.  I only ask you because I care.

I’m not asking if you go to church, pray, treat others with respect, help our world be a better place. Lots of folks do this, and it is not what makes them a Christian.  I am asking if you have personally asked Jesus into your heart.  It’s simple.  Just admit that you are a sinner, believe God sent His one and only Son to die for our sins, believe that Jesus rose again, and ask Christ to come into your heart.  If you truly do that, allow Christ to transform your life and live, love, and laugh for Him.  (Click here for more details.)

Will you see my dear friend, Paul, in Paradise?  I’m sure he’ll be leading the parade by marching and blowing his horn.

(Paul, you are at your final vacation spot.  I will see you again, my friend.  Tim and I love you!)

Please pray for Paul’s family.  Thanks.

 I pray God’s abundant love and blessings for y’all.

2 Responses to Final Vacation

  • Peggy Gibbs says:

    Thank you Stephanie. I needed this. Believing we will see our loved ones again in paradise is what makes our loss bearable.

  • Dianne says:

    Thank you Stephanie. Paul along with many people are in a glorious place with Our Lord. Alleluia!! Paul was always so kind. He was a great regional leader and friend. We send our prayers onto Connie and Katie. Thank you for your uplifting letter. You are correct. We are a family. I thank you for your touching words. Please let us know if you hear about the arrangements. James answer to almost anything is “just another day in Paradise” Paul is there in that beautiful Paradise!! Thank you. Dianne Faubert

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