While it was a joy to have this wonderful group of men together, our hearts were heavy with the weight of losing a parent at a time that doesn't make sense to us. 1 Corinthians 12:25-26 tells us that if one member of the body of Christ is suffering, then we all suffer with them. Bob's funeral service was a beautiful display of this truth. I was overwhelmed by the way the body of Christ came together to honor Bob's life and share in the mourning of the Regan family.
After the service, we had the opportunity to spend some extra time with Ryan, his wife Julia, and Michael. I'll let Nate tell you more about this amazing group of people.
Michael (aka Ortie, Mishael) is a man who exudes confidence, passion, and compassion. These qualities God has blessed him with have enabled him to do some extraordinary things like spend a summer sharing God's love with the people of Montenegro. He also once made a giant leap of faith by moving to New York City to help start a non-profit organization aimed at encouraging young girls to see their full worth and potential while also addressing justice issues such as child prostitution and slavery. Only God knows what He'll use Michael for next, but I suspect it will be something none of us could have imagined. His wit and smile bring joy to everyone he encounters, and we can usually count on his network and charm to ensure a premium table at a restaurant or a lane at a crowded bowling alley.
While both of these men are a tremendous encouragement to me, Ryan (aka Dems, Azariah) has a special gift of encouragement. I can always count on Dems to spur me on in my walk with Christ. "So Nate, what are you reading in Scripture?" is a phrase he often says in our conversations. Also, Ryan's gift of discerning God's will has been extremely evident, as I've seen him make some of life's most difficult and defining decisions regarding ministry, spouse, and career. Though not surprising, it has been amazing to see how Ryan found a partner in marriage who is equally as incredible as himself. Together he and Julia are a tandem team of encouragement. Ryan's passion for life is contagious, and I feel like I never leave a conversation with him unchanged.
Anne: I will admit that I am one of those women who made a list of the qualities of the man I hoped to call my husband. On this list, under the mandatory category, is this: surrounds himself with positive friends. The naive girl who wrote that list didn't really understand what she was asking for, but God more than completely fulfilled this request. These men encouraged Nate as a single man and helped us stay on course as a couple. Now, I think I might enjoy getting together with these guys almost as much as Nate does. :-) I know Julia agrees when I say we married into a uniquely wonderful friendship!