We were blessed to be able to return once again to one of my favorite places on earth, We Will Go Ministries in Jackson, MS. On our way down on Friday, we finally got to meet my dear sister/friend, Tina Boyd (Nick's Mom). We enjoyed a long lunch with her and time to get to know one another better. Funny how we feel so close to one another, especially with all we've been through together, yet this was our first actual face to face meeting! What an amazing woman she is! Such an honor to do life with her.
Someone else I'm honored to do life with is my precious covenant friend, Karen. We've been dear friends for 20 years and she is my greatest intercessor. We met while pregnant with our girls and have been on an incredible journey together. What a blessing to get to stay in her home with her sweet family.
Saturday we went to work day at We Will Go. Every time we visit it feels like a family reunion, getting to hug necks of people we hold so dear. I ended up on Meridith's team. Mer is an amazing missionary at WWG who Brooke met on her first trip to Mozambique with the Lancaster's, while Mer was a student at Harvest School. God knit their hearts together and while Brooke was at Harvest School a few months ago, Meridith and Laura came to Nashville and stayed in our home. Laura and her sweet family live in one of the bunkhouses at WWG. I felt an instant kinship with these two faith warriors and it was so precious getting to spend time with them this week.
Anyway, back to serving on Mer's team...we headed to the clothing shop to do some organizing upstairs. A team from the International House of Prayer in Kansas City was visiting and some of them ended up in our group as well. We enjoyed getting to know one another while sorting and praying over clothing donations. Saturday evening I went back to Karen's and enjoyed time with her family, then Sunday we went back to WWG to meet up with the rest of our team from The Nest. We moved into the bunkhouses and prayer walked while waiting for afternoon church to begin. On our way back to the worship pavilion, we noticed a couple sitting on the steps in front of the cemetery, eating an orange. We stopped to say hi and invite them to church. The man, who called himself "Red", shared that he knew and loved Jesus, but just didn't feel like he could join us for worship. We shared with him that Jesus loves him just as he is and that all are welcome in His house. It was getting time to head back, so we said goodbye, then he started sharing again. This went on several more times until finally we just had to politely move on with one last invitation for them to join us.
We entered the nearly full worship pavilion, hugging lots of folks we hadn't gotten to see until then...again like a sweet family reunion...Brooke had the honor of sharing her story with everyone, then David shared a good word about perseverance. After service, we transformed the worship pavilion into a dining hall and sat, ate, and fellowshipped with neighbors. I ended up sitting beside sweet Mr. Cliff. He looked and smelled like he had not bathed in months and was missing so many teeth, I could only understand about half of what he said, but he had the most precious twinkle in his eye and a lopsided grin that was so endearing...when he found out I was from Nashville, he beamed proudly as he said he'd gone to grad school at Vanderbilt in the '60s. I wondered how in the world someone with a master's degree had ended up in this condition, but I didn't ask. Instead I just listened to him the best I could as he talked and talked. I noticed others starting to clean up and tried to get up to help, but he continued to talk. As I finally broke away from the conversation to help with clean-up duties, I patted him on the back, blessing him, then moved on.
Later as I reflected on the day's events, and asked God "What did love look like today?", I realized some of the obvious things such as hugging necks of beloved friends/family, serving, praying, etc...but what He revealed to me as I thought about Red and Cliff was that with them love looked like simply listening to them talk. It occurred to me that they are lonely and while thankful for the invitation to church and the hot meal, what they really craved that day was a listening ear and companionship.
It's not complicated. It's really very simple. Sometimes love looks like listening. God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason. We should listen twice as much as we speak. Listening to someone, no matter how they look or smell, shows them they are a person of value and worth simply because they are created in the very image of God Himself...they are someone Jesus thought was worth dying for...they are someone worth loving...
Listening...a simple yet beautiful way to love The One and love the one...