Renewing friendships born of service to God

Received a phone call Sunday evening from a strange number. It’s a wonder I even answered. A missionary friend from Ecuador was at her brother’s house in Toledo and wanted to come out. We struggled with understanding for a few minutes. Then we lost connection. Another call. She would talk with her brother and call back.

Her brother said she didn’t have time to come out that evening. It was finally agreed she and her husband would be here Monday at one o’clock. I spent some time putting away that usual array of stuff that clutters my living space. On my way home from therapy Monday morning I stopped at the deli and got some things for lunch.

We’ve known this lady since the early 1990s and I have never known her to be on time, so I was not concerned when one o’clock Monday arrived and my friend didn’t. A half hour passed. I was still not concerned. When two o’clock came around I really thought she should be showing up or calling. She did call – about 10 minutes later.

Make a long story short? Change of plans. Again, her brother pointed out her need to get back to Texas for her husband’s scheduled surgery. The plan now is to get together during his recuperation period before they return home in October.

We were members of a mission team this lady hosted for 11 years in summer for a 10-day trip. While there, we worked in construction during the day and held church services in the evening.

We were laying block, building a seven-story building to house a church complete with a fellowship hall, a library, several floors for classrooms for a college level Bible/pastoral study program and, finally, living quarters for the pastor on the top floor.

After supper we went to a church to hold a service which could (and did!) often last from three to five hours. Our mission was to teach Quichua Indians (local native residents) of the love of Jesus Christ.

Our sore aching muscles, bumps, and bruises meant nothing when compared to the wonderful message we took to these dear people, many of whom became close friends over the years.

When I walk around heaven, I know I’ll be greeted by many Quichua Indians along with my family, church family, and other friends. I trust you will be there as well. Be sure you have invited Jesus into your heart, dear friend.