The Retirement of Majors Hostetler

What a wonderful time the lovely Robin and I enjoyed last weekend at The Salvation Army's Long Point Camp on Seneca Lake near Penn Yan, New York.
The occasion was the afternoon service marking the entry of my brother and sister-in-law, Majors Don and Arvilla Hostetler, into honored retirement from a combined ninety years of service to God and the ministry of The Salvation Army. It was such a joy and honor to be there for the celebration, which included (above) a Scripture reading by five of Don and Arvilla's grandkids (which altogether number somewhere around three or four thousand, I think).
Don and Arvilla were insistent that the service honor God and celebrate his faithfulness (rather than eulogizing them), which it did. In fact, a highlight for me was the singing of "Great Is Thy Faithfulness," first by Don and Arvilla, joined on the next verse by their children, then their daughters-in-law and son-in-law, and finally by all the grandchildren for the final verse. Throat constricted, tears flowed, for me, anyway.
The Unbearable Adorableness of Being Grandchildren made the grandkids presentation of "It's a Miracle" (above), which their parents used to sing together on repeated occasions, whether they wanted to or not, another high point among many.
Finally the fun stopped (just kidding--why you gotta be so sensitive?) and the official retirement portion of the program, conducted by Commissioner Phil Swires (R), took place (flagbearers from left to right: Envoy Philip Hostetler, Chaplain Lt. (USN) David Hostetler, Lt. Col. Tim Raines (R), and Major John Cranford (R)). I was surprised that Don and Arvilla could hold it together, but they did. And that they weren't blinded, even temporarily, by their son's dazzling white uniform. Sheesh. 

In all seriousness, it was a great moment. I am so proud of my big brother and sister. They have worked so hard and faithfully, always giving, never taking, never shirking, never failing in love, duty, obedience, integrity, and servanthood. The standard phrase, "honored retirement" doesn't even begin to do them justice. 

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