Thursday, March 18, 2010

Can You Be Trusted?

We are back on solid ground after a wonderful days at sea. Actually, we spent three of those nights at sea and the other two were spent in the Bahamas at the Atlantis resort in Nassau. It was amazing to say the least. The most amazing part is what we miss the most now that we are home.

Surprisingly, it is not the ship, although the ship was fantastic and an amazing experience for our family. It's not even the Bahamas, although the islands were gorgeous and an amazing display of God's creation. It's not the water slides and pools, although they were an absolute blast for our family. It's not the food, although it was plentiful, delicious, and I did not have to prepare it! It's not the entertainment, although we had front row seats for the shows that were incredible, hilarious, and even jaw dropping thanks to the Circ-de-Soleil aboard the ship. It's not the limousine ride through town to see some pretty cool Nassau history. It's not even the breathtaking deep blue ocean that surrounded us for five days.

All of these things were amazing and made our trip a vacation we will remember forever. I could spend pages and pages just letting the words flow describing how amazing this trip was, detailing everything we did, and all that we saw and experienced. But I feel burdened to tell you what we keep seeing over and over in our minds and what has left the most amazing lasting impression on our's the people we encountered! Their faces. Their smiles. Their warmth. The love they showed our family.

It's Alain, the ship's hotel manager who greeted us as we arrived and arranged for our entrance on and off the ship to be smooth. He was so extremely kind and patient with our family. He made arrangements for us to enjoy this trip to its fullest again and again even taking us up to the bridge to meet the captain which was a major highlight.

It's Tony, the ship's restaurant matradee who greeted us at every meal and made those times extra special for our family. Our kids fell in love with him instantly. Our two year old Corey was asking for him by name by day two and CJ couldn't wait to get back to the ship after two days in the Bahamas to see Tony. By day four, Corey was looking out the window in the room of our ship saying, "I see Tony in the water."

It's Deborah, our waitress who was so sweet to our family and always had a smile and kind word.

It's the waiter who served our family at the shows and always added that extra special touch of kindness to our time spent there, and the waiter at the restaurant who took me aside to encourage me and tell me to be strong and trust in God's strength.

It's Troy, the Limousine driver, who was friendly and kind and made sure we got to see some Bahamas history while we were there.

It's the photographer who took extra care to make sure we got a great picture and then placed them on our bed as a gift to our family and made sure we got them all even after they had been put away.

It's Bernard, our cabin steward on the ship who always had a kind smile and kind word and made sure the kids got the fun towel animals they loved in their cabin.

I could obviously go on and on. There are the nameless ones, who although I don't know their names, I can still see their faces. They left a lasting impression on my family's hearts.

Permit me to finish with the the two Teresa's, a mother and daughter-in-law, who greeted us when we entered the ship and made sure we had everything we needed for a wonderful vacation. Not to mention that Teresa is the one who made all of the arrangements to make this possible for our family.

I have to tell you a little about this woman. Yes, she is part owner of a cruise ship and that may sound very prestigious, but she is extremely humble and is willing to use the blessings the Lord has entrusted to her to bless others. Don't for one minute kid yourself and think that that the cruise lines are not suffering in this economy just like every other business. They are! But she is obedient to His call on her life regardless. She is a woman of prayer and faith who wants God to receive all the glory for what is taking place between the Bahamas Celebration Cruise Line and Children Battling Cancer, Inc.

When I think of her, I think of the Scripture in Luke 16:10 which reads, "Whoever can be trusted with little can also be trusted with much and whoever is dishonest with little will also be dishonest with much." I can only imagine what she has been faithful with in the past to lead her to being trusted with such a blessing.

Since I met her, this Scripture has played over and over in my mind because it has challenged me to ask myself if I have been faithful with what God has entrusted to me. It is so easy for me to look at others and say, "Well, if I had that I would do great things to bless others too." But God's response is, "Have you been faithful with what I have already entrusted to you?" And we all have been entrusted with something! Don't think so? Humor me for a moment would you....

Do you own a pool? When was the last time you had a family over that does not have a pool to bless them with a day of swimming? Do you have a backyard with a swing set? When is the last time you had a family with kids over who does not have a yard to bless the kids with a day of play? Do you have access to a beach or amazing park where you live? When was the last time you invited a family over to enjoy it with you? A big screen TV with surround sound? When was the last time you invited a family over for a movie night and served popcorn? Do you have a boat? A cabin? A camper? A horse? Tools? Talent? We all have something God has blessed us with that we can use to bless others. You want to know a wasn't given to you for you. It was given to you for you to use for HIM. His gift for His purposes!

Anyway, I don't know why I felt I had to share that with you. Believe me, I am preaching to the choir here. Our family needs to grow in this area as much as the next person. I pray that our encounter with Teresa and the Bahamas Celebration Cruise Line will cause us to take a deep look at our level of obedience in this area. I pray it encourages you to do so as well. Just imagine what the world would be like if there were more people like this woman willing to use what God has entrusted to them for His purposes. Can you be trusted?

I want to encourage you to support the Bahamas Celebration Cruise Line in any way you can. Book a trip with them. Recommend them to a friend. Send a letter or email thanking them for what they are doing for these kids with cancer. What is it they are doing you ask? Here comes the most exciting part! The cruise line is partnering with our organization, Children Battling Cancer, Inc. (CBC), to send one of our CBC families on an all expense paid cruise to the Bahamas each month. Is God amazing or what!

Please remember to check the website for upcoming events and ways you can help support these families as well. And be sure to read our CBC child of the month and add them to your prayer list for the month that they are featured.

Before I say goodbye let me add that CJ and the rest of the kids had a great time and so far have shown no signs of any new sicknesses we picked up. Thank you Lord! We were fastidious about being cautious and using the hand gels frequently and doing lots of washing and praying. He does however still has a touch of the persistent deep cough , which he had when we left, but we see that diminishing more and more.

It really was so great to see him so carefree, running, swimming and playing. He even got to the point he did not care if he took his shirt off to swim and people saw his port. This trip was a blessing to our family and we will cherish the memories we made forever. Thank you Teresa! Thank you Bahamas Celebration crew and staff! And above all, thank you God!

Keep in mind that CJ heads back to the hospital for chemotherapy next week (Friday the 26th) and I know he is not looking forward to it, but each day is a day closer to being done with all this chemo. Please pray for his continued healing and that he will not have a relapse or recurrence of cancer!

Here are some pics from the cruise.

Look at those smiles! Anyone who can make your kids smile like that has mom's vote!

Happy Birthday Alibrandi! 14!


Martha Rivero said...

Dear Dawn,

I am so happy you had a great time at the cruise. It is amazing what is happening, how many families will be blessed by spending time in this cruise!!!! Also, I think you needed to share about this because of "me", I have been praying in growing in this area,actually I was remembering this verse today over and over was beeping in my ears, sometimes I think I am not completly surrounding to His purposes, or that I have not use what he has giving me to bless others, and I ask for forgiveness now that read this, if I have not being faithful with what I have!

I am praying Dawn for this trial to end soon, and for CJ to heal 100%! Happy Birthday to Allie!!!May the glory be to our Lord!!!

With love,


Anonymous said...

Wow - the cruise line is partnering so send your families on cruises? That's absolutely fantastic! I'm glad you had such a wonderful vacation and they took such good care of your family! God is really blessing your ministry - praise be to the Lord! We are continuing to pray for CJ's healing! Happy Birthday, Allie! you have a new little cousin waiting for you to see in Virginia! He's beautiful - has his mom's good looks and his dad's feet. lol You'll have to ask Uncle Shawn about that. We love you all - Aunt Karen and Uncle Terry

beckyg said...

So glad you all had a wonderful time. The smiles in the pics are priceless! And Allie, 14, wow! Happy birthday Allie!!!
Thanks for the reminder to serve others with what He has given us. It may not be what we 'want', but when we view all He's given us in light of eternity and our ultimate gift in Him, new life in Christ, puts everything in its proper perspective...Thanks again my friend for turning us back to the Cross and what really matters!

for the Gonzalez Gang

shawn said...

We are thrilled to hear of your time together as a family! It sounds like it was an incredible and refreshing trip for everyone! Happy Belated Bday to Ali! We will be praying for CJ's health and for his chemo next week. We love you guys so much. Can't wait to see you in a few weeks (Lord willing)!

Shawn, Cara, and Josiah

Anonymous said...

Dear Dawn,

Sounds like the cruise was the trip of a lifetime, and it seems like it came at just the right time. The pictures are just wonderful!!

How wonderful to hear about the Cruise Line partnering with CBC, that is wonderful. You have accomplished so much in so little time!

Happy Belated Birthday Allie!


Nicole, ALberto and Ana

Janet said...

Hello, George family.
It's so good to see all those smiling faces. We know you all really needed that vacation. What a blessing.
Dawn, you've been serving so many other families in the midst of your trials, I'm happy to see that you got to enjoy this time with your family....and you didn't have to cook or clean. :-)
And thank you, my friend, for the reminder of using what God has given us to bless others. That is another area I truly need to grow in...hospitality.
janet s.

Unknown said...

You know what? I bet you guys enjoyed that cruise 1,000 times more after that miss the previous week. I bet you didn't take one moment for granted! God is so Amazing! I think He wanted it to just be that much more sweeter for all of you. The kids' smiles are priceless in the pics..I am so glad you had such an amazing time and met such amazing, selfless people.

And you are absolutely hitting the bullseyes on that scripture. I beleive theres also one that says something about "what you do for the least of us you to for the greatest...What's that one Dawn, I know you can quote it right and tell me what scripture it is right off the top of your head..



Anonymous said...

What a blessing from the Lord. So thrilled to hear how everyone treated you on the ship. We will continue to pray for CJ during these next couple of months. May the Lord give each of you strength for what remains of his treatments.