As I write this, I’m sitting on our church bus with other members; we’re returning from a dedication of a “Director’s Home” that our church funded, the first building on the site of a new UM Children’s Home (Madison Youth Ranch). It was a glorious time – such an important, life-impacting work.
Later tonight I’ll take three men from our church to their Walk to Emmaus experience. Yesterday, I was in Orlando all day for meetings to develop a plan to raise a substantial endowment to fund faculty positions for the UM Seminary in Moscow, where my friend Sergei Nikolaev is the President. Because I was a John Wesley Fellow – A Foundation for Theological Education helped me to get my Ph.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary – I have had doors open to teach in seminaries oversees: West Africa Theological Seminary in Lagos, Nigeria, and our UM Seminary in Moscow and its off-campus site in Kiev. This led to my being asked to serve on their board and to chair the USA portion. It’s a really important work and I’m happy to support it.
On the drive down to Orlando, I spoke with one of our church members whose son was struck by a bomb in Afghanistan, causing him to lose both his legs, one of his arms, and three of his fingers on his other hand, with the remaining two being paralyzed, and lots of other complications. Months and months of surgery, rehab, etc. Two weeks ago he began to drive his own car into Walter Reed hospital for rehab. His name is Eddie Klein and his story was on ABC’s World News this past Monday. For 30 minutes his mother shared her heart and soul about their journey. Another member called to share that he would be conferring later that day with hospice about his ailing mother who had had a stroke and wasn’t recovering. On the way home, a member called about her daughter who needs to be admitted into a mental institution but she didn’t know how she could make that happen; could I help?
I arrived home exhausted, but it was a good exhaustion: this calling to try to incarnate God’s love and compassion and understanding and grace. I continue to pray for each one of these dear folks. If you’re reading this, you’re probably involved in the lives of others, some of whom are in great need, and you’re a “means of grace” to them, and they to you.
“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline” (2 Tim 1:7, NIV).