South of the 710

We hid behind the red velvet curtain that divided the driver’s and the passenger’s seats from the rest of the van. My sister and I rolled around on the floor as my pops would make the steady turn around the off ramp at the end of the Desmond Bridge. We giggled, but were constantly told to keep quiet. And, as we neared the gate, our hearts’ beat seemed to pound louder with every gulp. We would pretend that the Navy guard was actually a spy and we were trying to infiltrate the base. We succeeded every time. To our joy, we would always exit the van to mornings of amazing excursions for clams and muscles.

The Long Beach Navy Base has long been closed and my dad has since retired after serving many many (many) years as a civilian employee for the government. My memories, however, remain so fresh in my mental film reel as if tomorrow morning we would pack the van for our routine excursions. And, as I’ve frequently journeyed over the Vincent Thomas Bridge and the Desmond for my frequent trips into Long Beach from the South Bay lately, my past memories have exuberantly been heightened.

I love Long Beach. I’m a South Bay guy with a Long Beach sentiment. I didn’t have any say when my parents decided to move out of Long Beach (after all, I was only seven). But it’s become evident that Long Beach never left my heart, since the idea of planting a church in the very city I once called home has taken form. I spent my college years in Long Beach (I was on the six year plan). My wife and I lived in Long Beach for the first part of our marriage. So, it only makes sense that God would line things up for us to extend His Kingdom work in The International City.

I excitedly anticipate my return.

I’m coming home Long Beach.

I hope you’re just as excited as I am.

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