As a foster parent, I know that timelines are… flexible. Part of the calling to this work is preparing your heart and mind for the unexpected, for the impossible, for the “wait, that’s not how we planned it!”
So it shouldn’t have come as any surprise that the same dexterity and flexibility would be called for working with Kentucky Refugee Ministries. And yet, we all get our hopes and expectations set on how things are supposed to go. The very flexible plan we had thought would be sufficient turned out to need a bit more flexibility than we imagined.
And there was no small amount of, “oh no, can we do it?” when we learned the news that the family was bigger than we planned and coming and moving into their home a bit sooner than would have been ideal.
Indeed, as this email is sent, South Elkhorn church members are vigorously cleaning, preparing, and setting up a warm and inviting home–stocking the pantry and cooking a hot meal! When the Afghan couple and their four children, including a baby girl, step into their home tonight we pray they experience all the love, generosity, and joy that the gifts, donations, contributions, and hard work are meant to convey.
Katie Havelda Dent looked at me yesterday as we piled items out of one van and into a temporary storage location and said, “you know, as I was thinking about how impossible it would be to get this all worked out so quickly, especially with packages not yet arrived and certain items not yet secured, I kept remembering the story of ‘the fishes and loaves.'”
Her words hit my soul hard: that is just the right story for what was needed in this moment. When Jesus took a few fish and a bit of bread and then turned it into a feast for 5,000 or more he was showing all of us the surprising power of God’s Spirit.
In the last two days, somehow, someway, mattresses were secured, baby items donated for travel and meals, professional movers were (miraculously!) available to help with getting items into the home, and so many donations and contributions came in. And not just from the South Elkhorn family–acquaintances, friends, and many others saw what South Elkhorn was up to and wanted to help. We were inspiring Christ’s deeper way of love in others beyond our church.
Yes, it might not go like we planned, but God’s Spirit is rippling through our shared love, generosity, and joy to make a way when it seemed like there was no way.
That’s how God’s Spirit moves and works–through love, generosity, and joy. I pray you sense that today and this holiday season. And I pray you know and feel that same ever-surprising and soul-restoring love, generosity, and joy as we gather to worship this Sunday.
See you Sunday,