Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Service Perks

As is often the case in ministry, the ones that are serving are also richly blessed. This was true for me (and those that were with me) on our recent trip into the coal mining area around Harlan County KY.

One of those unexpected blessings came from getting to know the members of my own church family a little bit better. Even though I knew them as members of my church, I really only knew them in that context. Travelling, dining and working with them allowed me to get to know them as the people that they are and not just as the one that sits a few rows behind me on Sunday morning.

We made the trip in a convoy of vehicles. I initially rode with a husband and wife team that has been at Hopedale for a number of years. I really didn't know much about them other than their names and which kids were theirs. I really enjoyed hearing about their jobs; the work that they do and the people that they work with. I also found out about his hobbies. One might think that riding for several hours with people that you don't know is something to be apprehensive about. I found it to be very interesting and without any awkward silences.

From Lexington to Cumberland I rode in a different vehicle--a mother travelling with her 11 yr old son and her sister. The mom invited me along to show Jack some magic. So we played in the back and participated in the conversation in the front. The sister is not a member of our church and I enjoyed getting to know her. I'll have more to say about these ladies in another post.

The mom in that car later called me a car-hopper and said I was a fickle passenger since I rode home with yet another group. (Apparently nobody else was swapping from one vehicle to another.) This carload left several hours ahead of the rest of the convoy and dropped off a couple of passengers in the boot-heel area of southeast Missouri. Once again there were no quiet moments as we talked, laughed and shared the adventures of the week and the stories of our lives.

When you eat meals together for a week, work hard and get sweaty as a team, sleep in bunkhouse type lodging--you get to see one another at that early morning/late at night wouldn't be seen in public level of personal appearance. It really doesn't take a week to begin to think of this group of men, women and kids as something more that fellow workers on a mission. I was a little bit surprised at church on Sunday morning when two of the women on the trip greeted me with a hug. I've seen them at church every week for years and never been greeted that way. It didn't seem awkward or artificial. It seemed like a very natural way to greet somebody with whom you've shared an experience that changes who you are and how you look at things.

I'm pretty sure that I'll be working with these people again. Perhaps these shared experiences will bring us together for other activities, as well.

Then again, maybe we'll all just go back to doing what we were (or weren't) doing before and life will go on as it always has...

...but I doubt it.

The blessings and the lessons were too real to ignore. We have to be changed to embrace them. One would have to completely ignore or dismiss all of the people and activities of the week to remain unchanged.

For those of our trip that read this, thank you for your service to the kingdom. Thank you for faithfulness to our Lord. And thank you for your friendship.

John <><
the car hopping, fickle passenger

1 comment:

Mike said...

I've heard of 'working the room' but never 'working the cars'.