out of the silence……..

chldren dancing ten I have this friend who called me while I was on the way to the library to pick up yet another audio book. My friend whom I really don’t know as intimately as I would like called out of the blue. She said, “So I saw your email and it seems you’re in a bind. I want to help you.” Out of the silence. I had not heard from anyone else. I had emailed one or two others. I had sought the counsel of two. “Just run with it,” one of them said. “It’ll all work out,” said another. I wanted it to work out. My way. The way of all my friends coming over and my NOT having to attend the meeting. NOT having to even call in on a phone conference.

It got complicated. While on the phone to my friend my phone, on its own, with its own plan, calls the head of the board and he  says, “Would you please send out an email to all the board calling for a face to face meeting this weekend.” A face to face. At the same time as the gathering of friends in my home. My heart sags. Why all on the same night? Yes, I could say, and it would be quite true, I have a prior commitment. But this guy has stirred the waters this week. And so has God. Yep. God brought a whole family of children to Children’s Church this Sunday. And……they’ve been raised in a church from wherever they came from. One of the little girls, the one in fifth grade, knew “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” And kept going for a few more verses. She had heard of some of the books of the Bible. She knew some church songs. This was so encouraging since all of our kids haven’t been to a church unless they have been to our fledgling little Children’s Church that meets each week at 3:00 in the afternoon.IMG_0996

My friend texted me, after I lost her call to the Board member guy, that she was going out for dinner. Would I call later? Later came. “I insist on having the ladies come to my house that night,” she said. I caved. yes. Thank you. I really need to be at this Board meeting. Too much going on for me to hear later second hand. Thank you. How does one thank someone so gracious? Flowers? A card? Both? Nothing? I told her I cherished her friendship. And I do. And not because of this. But because this for her is the norm. Giving. Calling and asking how she can help. And meaning it. She’s Christ Jesus in the flesh. Her hands are open wide and her smile is broad.  You shine for your Lord, Precious Friend. Thank you!

Volunteering – what’s the payback?

DSC00589Church and Life Group are over; it’s nearly half past noon already.

Beloved and I eat a quick homemade sandwich; I change into some comfortable shoes and jeans.

He retires to the couch and the remote and I return to the car and drive off to afternoon kid’s church; it’s about a 25 or 30 minute drive to the northeast side of town. I’m distracted by the audio book so the time flies by. I turn off the book and say a prayer for the children before turning onto the property. I’m tired but yet, I know. I need to be here.

After sweeping up the dead roaches and the dried out orange peel and clean up the week old “craft papers” in the children’s rooms of the children’s church house, I think through what I will need for small group time later on. Then I  go outside to play with some of the children who have come on their own. We’re waiting for the mostly reliable beat up old  van to return with a load of happy children so we can begin.DSC00598

Our fearless leader is inside, setting up the projector and queing  up the power point. Two other volunteers are working on the snacks in the kitchen. This week it’s “cuties” oranges, peanut butter and grape jelly sandwiches on white and some Oreo cookies and Kool Aid.

At 3:00 the children with their loud “in-your-face-ness” come clamoring in the small house and take their seats, still reading their cell phones (how do they afford a phone???). Silence your phones, Ladies, we hear, and put them away. Reluctantly they slip them into their back pocket and sigh. The little ones crawl into the laps of their big sisters/aunts/cousins/neighbors and stare at the Pastor.

The Fearless Leader Pastor asks one of the older youth  to lead us in  the Lord’s Prayer. Then the pastor asks some to read from the Bible – Exodus 1. “I wanna read!” one cries out. “Where is it???? What page is it on?” I turn toward the excited young person and hand her my Bible. “Right here,” I point and then say, “You read.”OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And she does. She’s interested. “Who’s Moses?” she inquires in her excited loud voice. Pastor tells her. And all the others who are there, listening. And then. My heart stirs. The room has gone quiet as several are hearing for the first time in their lives about a man whom God used to move a nation out of slavery.

On another week, I witness 4 young teen ladies lead us all in the singing and the scripture reading and then I know why I am there Sunday afternoon after another. To witness transforming lives. To witness young people who are hearing those Bible stories that I have taken for granted for the very first time and some get it! And some are hearing about the God who made them is the same God who loves them and it’s the same God who sent His only Son to die for them because He loves them enough to keep them from going to hell.

That’s the payback. And all I can do is bow my head and say, thank you for allowing me to be a small part in the lives of these “unchurched” young people as they hear the gospel of grace for the very first time.

Amazing Grace…..how very sweet the sound!