A number of years ago, Melissa and I were walking around our neighborhood one evening. I had just returned from my first trip to Vietnam, changed, and as we walked, we talked about my experiences there. As we walked and talked, I told her I could see myself working in full time mission. For me, that was the beginning of a journey that has us about to move to Zambia in March. As we discussed the pros and cons of such a move, and in particular, the sale of my business, so we might be able to take such a big step in our lives, I can remember telling Melissa, “I look forward to a time, when I can look forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Some or all of my new supervisors with Presbyterian World Mission may be scratching heads, hearing that their new mission co-worker didn’t look forward to Christmas. Let me explain a little further. From July of 1994, until October 7, 2015, I owned and operated a company, Patty’s Herbs, Inc., which was located in Pearsall, Texas, south of San Antonio. We grew and distributed fresh-cut culinary herbs; our customers included food service companies such as Sysco, local produce distributors, restaurants and a large regional grocery chain, H. E. Butt Grocery Company (HEB). Our relationship with HEB spanned over thirty years, beginning before I joined the company.


As a supplier to such a large grocery chain, we saw a huge increase in sales leading up to Thanksgiving and Christmas. While the sales revenue was a blessing, the stress associated with that time of year was extraordinary, and by the time each holiday arrived, I was exhausted. I can remember many a Thanksgiving where I ate lunch, and then went straight to bed to nap.  This year was the first time since 1994 that I didn’t have to deal with this yearly stress. Yes, our new grandson, Max, threw a wrench into Thanksgiving, when he was hospitalized with RSV, but we knew he was in good hands at Emory.

Next week we will celebrate Christmas with our children and grandchildren, and I will be able to focus on the coming of Christ. That day I hoped for during that evening walk with Melissa has finally arrived, and I will cherish it.


Melissa and I would like to wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


Lucy with the Christmas ornament she made for Mimi and me.  Mimi holds baby Max in the background.

May the peace of Christ be with you this Christmas season!

Charles & Melissa




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