Saturday, July 20, 2013

In My Own Backyard...

I have only shared this with a few people closest to me. Serving seemed natural on the mission trip. Even though it was written into the daily schedule but it felt written into my being, like it had always been there. I remember others sharing what I might feel when I returned.  I know they were right but I chose to remove it from my thinking. So often we want to know how the story goes; writing our own ending even. Instead, I wanted to journey into the seemingly unknown and let Him write the story.

This has been sitting on my mind and in my heart for the nearly five weeks since it happened.

I was just 2 days fresh from the trip. Attempting to get back into a routine. I was extremely fatigued and still processing the week. Feeling incredibly uncomfortable in my own skin. I was going to head outside with my five year old and I gazed upward wondering Oh God, how in the world; right in here in my own backyard can I be Your hands?

I retreated to the shade in a lawn chair with my laptop as I watched my daughter play in the sprinkler. Out of no where a small white car pulls around the corner and into my driveway. It began backing out and the driver waved. I assumed she was just thanking me in a way for letting her turn around. But instead as she backed out she pulled up to the curb in front of my house and parked. She made her way up my driveway then through the yard. She spoke words of gratitude... "Oh thank you for being outside." I was puzzled.

Feeling uncertain about the situation I firmly asked "what can I help you with?" I cannot explain it but the small amount of fear I felt of this encounter with a stranger left me.

She began speaking but I couldn't quite make out what she was saying due to her accent and the road noise of the corner lot in which I resided, so I got up and walked toward her near my deck. She showed me a tablet with a scribbled address on it. She went on to explained in labored breath and worry that she was trying to find this specific address in order to look at a rental property. She was desperate to find a place to live. Causing her even more worry was getting to this address quickly so she could also get to her work within the next hour and that was 20 minutes from here.

I told her I could look it up online on my laptop. I entered her destination into google maps and it came up with "did you mean...?" It was then my familiarity with the community in which I lived that made it clear she had the wrong street was close but off a bit. We entered the house number with the correct street name and the directions were there. She began to write the correct address down. Then asked if I would read her the directions and she would record them on her tablet. I began to recite the step by step route...her pen went dry and she cried "oh why now, I need ink." She began rummaging through her handbag and without hesitation prayed "In the name of Jesus please let there be another pen." She was unable to find one.

I told her I would go into my house and grab one. I left my five year old daughter outside with this supposed stranger and went to retrieve a pen. I returned quickly with one and she continued to record the directions. She finished with relief but I still sensed some worry.

She thanked me and started slowly heading back through the yard and stopped and asked my name, I told her my first name and she shared hers. Though the slight language barrier and the fact that she was walking away kept me from hearing it. She continued walking but looking back at me pleaded "please pray for me in the name of Jesus that this is the house for me and that I can still get to my work on time today." I attempted to walk toward her and offered to pray with her right then and there but she faded further away through the lawn into the driveway and called back "Thank you, I must go, I cannot be late...thank you THANK YOU. What are the chances you would be sitting outside with your computer and just when I didn't know what else to do; Only God! May God Bless you, Jen."

I think of her often.

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