Thursday afternoon I left for Calgary… alone.¬† In some ways I was looking forward to some alone time during the drive, but a few hours later I was beginning to change my mind.¬† Then, after stopping for 5 hours to sleep at a Motel 6 in Butte, MT, I was ready for a new day.¬† A long day.¬† By the time I arrived at the border at 8:30 AM, I was starting to hear an unfamiliar grinding in the front wheels of Dan’s car.¬† The GoodYear shop in Lethbridge could not take another vehicle that day so on I went to Calgary where I got the bad news.¬† Needed: a complete front brake job – rotors, pads, caliper servicing… $ 330.00.¬† WOW!¬† Then when I got to Red Deer there were other issues, including a lost Blackberry (I found it after awhule).¬† By the time I pulled into SunnySide Camp at 4:15 PM, I was exhausted.¬†
I wish I could tell you that I had joy in my heart as I parked the car.¬† I didn’t.¬† In facr, I was feeling quite sorry for myself.¬† Here I was, all alone for the next three days among people who speak a strange language – Arabic.¬† I wanted to turn around and drive somewhere – ANYWHERE – as fast as I could.¬† But I didn’t
So I parked the car and started the 150′ walk across the parking lot to the main building.¬† And that’s where it happened.¬† There on the steps were four Arabic speaking men… and they immediately called my name!¬† my heart leaped, not because of some wierd attraction (ARE YOU KIDDING ME?) but because these men were my brothers!¬† And I hadn’t seen them for a full year.¬† We shook hands and hugged and exchanged the year’s events.¬† We greeted others as they came in.¬† There was the man who was baptized at the end of the baptism last year (he had served in the Iraqi army), and another couple who were Egyptioan.¬† There were Iranians, Jordanians and Syrians.¬† And even though we spoke different languages (actually I was the one who was different), we were united because we were family… God’s family.¬† We were brothers and sisters and that Christ-bond was greater than culture, greater than language and greater than the year of separation.
So here’s the point.¬† On Sundays we meet together, this rag-tag group of Lakesiders.¬† We bring different experiences, different hurts and vastly different personalities.¬† But the moment we see one another, the day gets a bight broghter, the burdens we bear become a bight lighter, and the hurst and disappointments of life seem to become less hurtful, less impactful.
When you pull into the parking lot this Sunday, know that the ministry of your presence will make a difference other lives.¬† Greet one another with joy.¬† Give great hugs and words of encouragement.¬† Cherish the moment with your family – God’s family.¬†¬†We are blessed!