Ponderings October 13, 2016
It’s Wednesday, October 12, 2016; and tonight Becky and I are looking forward to sleeping in our own bed, despite still being without electricity. You see, thanks to Hurricane Matthew, we’ve been away from our normal surroundings, making new acquaintances, and having to get along without the creature comforts to which we had become so accustomed; in short, we’re just returning from a week-long mission trip! Admittedly, not all would describe their evacuation experiences in that way; but it’s apropos for ours. Let me explain.
Last Tuesday, a team of eight clergy and lay leaders arrived from Ireland to spend seven days in this parish – they came intent on observing the ministries, meeting the people, experiencing the various worship styles and learning the principles undergirding our faithfulness and fruitfulness. An extensive agenda was planned to accommodate their aspirations – an agenda that included four hours with me. But the day after with their arrival in Bluffton, Matthew appeared forcing Becky and I to leave the Rectory and join them at the Hampton Inn adjacent to Sun City; I use the term “join them” literally . . . two of the fellows agreed to share a room to create lodging for Becky, me, my mother and sister in the sold-out hotel!
The ensuing days gave rise to hours spent in Bible study, prayer, worship, teaching, discussions and an ever-deepening level of fellowship. Relationships were formed as a result of our mutual sharing that will transcend culture and geography – we experienced the reality of “one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all!” (Click here to read an email just arrived from team members, Roly and Susan Heaney) Looking back, it’s clear to me that what transpired during the past week was profoundly different from the four previous occasions when teams from Ireland visited with us – the reason: we had invited them to “come and see” rather than to “come and be” and in the process both we and they had missed the greater potential available in the exchange . . . strange that the Lord used a hurricane to reveal this!
Thanks to monies generated through God’s Goods, we have longstanding relationships with Ireland and Canada. Thanks to my recent “mission trip,” we’ll be approaching both with a different focus in the future. And for that we can say, “Thanks be to God!”
Left to Right: Alan Campbell, Paul Hoey, Colin Welsh, Anne Welsh, Charlie Donnell, Ruth McElreavey, Father Chuck, Susan Heaney, Roly Heaney