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  • Writer's pictureLeslie D. Louis

From the President’s Pen

Waiting with Joy

Next month (August) marks a very special milestone memory for my brother Lester, my sister Lorraine, and me.

Leslie Louis (left) and his family soon after arriving in America in 1964.

Sixty years ago, the three of us arrived together in America on August 9, 1964, with our mom. After waiting for almost three years for Dad to raise the funds and procure our visa documents, we were finally reunited with him in our new homeland, leaving behind our heritage home of India. I remember that April day of 1961 when the ship carrying my dad left its harbor port, and we bade farewell to him, hoping to be reunited as a family soon. The days became weeks; the weeks became months; the months became years. We had no phone at our mission school where my mom worked as a teacher. The Internet was unheard of, and the only form of communication was by letters (usually an aerogram since it was the least costly). Occasionally, we were thrilled to receive a package of goodies and surprises from America on special occasions such as Christmas or birthdays.

The separation and the waiting time were difficult and often discouraging. We live in a time of instant expectations. Waiting is often a difficult pill to swallow in the rapid pace of our societal climate. We send an email and expect a response that same day. We send a text message and hope to get an instant reply. From fast foods to rushed routines, we live in a time that is antithetical to waiting. Daily technological advancements are fulfilling the ancient prophetic words of Daniel 12:4 that at the end of time “Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.”

The Bible chronicles several stories of waiting—of individuals, of a nation, and of the early church. Noah waited for the rain to begin and the floods to subside; Abraham and Sarah waited for a son; Joseph waited to be reunited with his family; the Israelites waited to be freed from slavery, to enter the promised land, to be freed from exile, and for the Messiah to save them. Hebrews 11, usually referred to as “The faith chapter,” lists many individuals throughout biblical history who by faith waited but “did not receive the things promised,” only seeing “them from a distance” (v. 13). Today, we as Adventists are waiting for Christ’s return and an end to sorrow, pain, and death. We’re longing for “a better country”—heaven (v. 16). The author of Hebrews tells us to “hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful” (10:23).

Yes, while we wait as pilgrims on our journey, that waiting can be a joyful journey rather than a painful pilgrimage. The British Celtic Christians saw their pilgrimage differently. They set out directionless into the wild or let their boats drift wherever the oceans took them. Pilgrimage for them was all about trusting God in unfamiliar territory. Every blessing they experienced was found not only at their destination but all along the journey.

That’s why the song written by Stuart Hamblin, entitled “Until Then,” is one of the favorite songs that Carole and I love to sing together:

My heart can sing when I pause to remember

A heartache here is but a stepping stone

Along a trail that’s always winding upward

This troubled world is not my final home.

But until then, my heart will go on singing

Until then, with joy I’ll carry on

Until the day my eyes behold the city

Until the day God calls me home.


Let’s wait on the Lord with joyous expectation! He’s coming, coming soon I know!

Your servant leader,

Leslie Louis

Carolina Conference President

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