30 August, 2009

Encouraging encounters

I've had several encouraging encounters over the last couple of days. Home Assignment can be a time of giving and giving. Telling people about your country of service, correcting misconceptions, answering the same questions and repeating the same stories again and again. This can be draining rather than uplifting. The sort of thing which reinforces our feeling that we don't quite belong in Australia any more. The last couple of days have been different. On Friday I went to a Bible study with a small group of ladies I hardly know. Instead of dispassionately discussing theological truths, they revealed some scary truths about themselves with breathtaking honesty. A morning of soul refreshment! Friday night we had our homeside ministry team here for dinner. (The folk who organised our house, contents etc.) We shared a crazy meal (with lots of little kids) and then shared and prayed together. It is a weird thing to attend a prayer meeting that you are the focus of. However, if you can relax with that, it is an incredibly encouraging event. Saturday afternoon I met the lady I'm travelling to Manila with (and rooming with her too). This was our first face-to-face encounter. The context I where met her was unusual. She is the editor of Footprints Australia magazine, a locally produced magazine for Christian women. It is her 'baby'. Yesterday the team of women who help her put the magazine together, met to talk about various things. So I didn't only get to meet my future travel companion, I met her in the context of more than a dozen others passionate about this magazine. I met an Australian Christian book publisher who has just started her own company marketing family friendly Australian Christian products including books. That was exciting to see; her passion and dreams for Australian Christian publishing and writing. The other exciting factor was that all these women come from different Christian traditions. All with the same goal, of glorifying God and encouraging other Christian women in their walk with God. I left the meeting early because a friend I hadn't seen for 15 years was due for dinner at our house. He got to our house before me and introduced himself to my husband and children. A lower primary teacher, he got along with our boys really well. It was a delight to see a single, young man (got to be careful, he is only seven years younger than me) who is living his life for others and God, and is not sold out on his own pleasure. I've had to be careful writing this. Many of the people mentioned, actually read this blog! I don't want to put off people from talking to me for the fear of being mentioned here. But I did also feel that I needed to express my thankfulness for these people in my life over the last few days. People who've made me feel welcome, valued and loved. People who haven't treated me like an alien from outer space.


JN said...

Yes, what a gift! And hope-giving for me to hear how God has given you these people.

Janet said...

Glad that we encouraged you :-)