Friday, April 17, 2009
Seeing & Believing
I am still a little bit in an Easter state of mind. Experiencing Holy Week masses, the Rise Youth show, and the Easter Sunday...well...WOW! We are so blessed to be a part of the Church of the Nativity.
My family is a family that has so much to be thankful for. Besides a wonderful church to worship and serve in, we have so much. The food - to the brim - no, over the top as always for an Italian family! And add the chocolate and jelly beans, and we can't forget the Easter gifts - if you add children who are "tweens" or older to the mix - then what you have is an abundance. Our family does not just have an abundance of food; we also have an abundance of LOVE.
I want to share what our church has shared with us, and the love that our family has for one another with others. I want to take it half way around the world. No, it is not the Easter sugar high. I want to go back to Jos, Nigeria. I want to go back after an unbelievable eight months of learning in my life since I was last there. I want to help our church's new team.
After going to Nigeria, I literally saw things for the first time in my life. I saw what I saw and I can't forget it. I understand there is need and suffering in our country too. So after I've heard "...you don't have to go to Nigeria...", I agree - you don't. But there is something about going outside our country and seeing "the world" through another culture's eyes. I saw a version of our world stripped down.
I remember the day our team left the Faith Alive Family. It was a beautiful, clear morning. We all boarded a minibus that would take us to the airport. The whole town had come out and lined the streets to say goodbye. "Thank you!" they cried out. Everyone waved. They were saying "Please come back!" As the minibus pulled away, I kept looking back. I felt like a small child when they get in the back of a car with their noses pressed against the glass. I didn't want to miss a thing. I guess I've been looking back ever since.
Dr. Chris and his family were visiting the U.S. this month. I had the privilege of hosting a dinner for them on April 3rd. I invited the team members,friends and people interested in the Nigeria program. He was "fashionably" late! As soon as he and his family walked in I thought - here he is, in my home, God is so awesome to allow me to become friends with such wonderful people who live so far away. We prayed, laughed and cried together. Dr. Chris loves reading the blog! His wife and children are lovely. I didn't get to meet them last August. This was the first time the children had been in the U.S. Their three children were running around, having a great time with my two kids and the two daughters of our friends. Their youngest, 3year old Joseph, fell in love with my 11 year old, Christopher. At the end of the evening,Joseph did not want to leave our home.
God opens doors for us but sometimes we just don't see them. Maybe we can't believe the doors are open for us. My life changed when I walked through the doors of the Church of the Nativity. I feel like it was the church I'd been looking for all my life. Here was a church I could belong to. For the first time in my life - here was a church that I loved. Here is a church that has helped me to see the world a little clearer. Someone once told me that as we grow as Christians, we start seeing the world through our Savior's eyes. I have a long way to go - but it's less cloudy.
"When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God knows us completely.
Three things will last forever - faith, hope and love - and the greatest of these is love"