Wednesday, December 18, 2013

December 18, 2013

Visit From a Long-Time Friend
December 18, 2013

A text came on my cell phone Monday saying, "Would you and Ron be free for lunch Wed?  I'm at the orphanage, and I have to take a student to the Brownsville airport Wed."  My response: "Who is this?  Joe?..."  Only a phone number had shown up on my cell phone, no name.  But I was 99% sure who it was.  I was right.  It was Joe, a former summer missionary who has made many mission trips to this border area to do construction projects to build churches, and homes in Mexico, and cottages at a children's home in Matamoros, Mexico, right across the river from our town.

For many years, our church has had a variety of mission projects here and in Mexico, and Baptist Student Ministry groups from colleges and youth groups from across the south, would come to help.  For a long time we had what we called "summer missionaries", college students who would volunteer their summers to come work in the South Texas heat, working to spread the gospel and to help people in the area.  One summer there were seven young men and several young women serving in that capacity with our church and the housing arrangements for the boys had not worked out well.  We knew we were going to be gone on an extended vacation and told our pastor that the boys could live in our house while we were gone.  They moved in a few days before we left and stayed for a while after we got back.

We fell in love with these young men and over the 30+ years since then, have stayed in contact with several of them.  We have been especially close to one of them.  Joe was a student at Texas A&M when we first met him.  Then he went on to Southwestern Baptist Seminary in Ft. Worth, before becoming a Baptist Student Ministry Director.  He has served at several universities over the years but has been in Commerce now for a long time.  Every year he brings a group of students to work at the children's home across the river in Mexico.

I don't remember for sure, but I think the last time I saw Joe was last Spring while I was deaf.  At the time I had the small hand held amplifier that helped me to hear some, but I must say, my conversation with Joe today was more like old times.  He had a student with him and I had picked up pizza for our lunch.  We stood at one of the counters at the office, he and the student on one side and Ron and I on the other, and had a wonderful conversation.  There were a few times I asked him to repeat things, but not too many. 

We laughed about some of the stories from those days he lived with us - oh, we had fun!  Then and now!  Visiting with old friends is always fun, but more so when you can hear them!

Earlier this morning I had done some shopping and accomplished a lot.  I am very close to being finished with the gift buying - next comes grocery buying!  Clerks were very helpful and talkative today.  I had gone out early before anything was crowded and it was nice to be able to engage them in conversations.  A clerk at Dillards seemed very eager to have someone to really talk to, getting to say more than, "Will that be cash or credit?"  She wanted to know all about the lucky person who would receive the gift I had just bought.  She wanted to tell me all about her family and her plans and to hear all about mine.  I had never seen her before.  People want to know you care about them.  I usually ask if they have finished their shopping.  I am surprised at how many say that they have finished.

After Joe left, Ron went out on some jobs.  I took care of customers and did some office work.  I had bought some office supplies this morning and so I put those away.  I did not get around to my Christmas cards!  I am so far behind on them.  If you are on my Christmas card list, don't think I have forgotten you, I am just way behind!

I left the office a few minutes early and was able to do a few minutes of work in the backyard, filling the ponds and birdbaths.  Then I spotted a beautiful sunset, so I hurried in for my camera.  There have been some beautiful ones lately.

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