Anyone who has ever served as church leadership knows about Sunday morning phone calls. They are not something you look forward to.
Church pianist: "We have the flu..."
Nursery worker: "I forgot to get a replacement for today..."
Pastor: (inaudible due to laryngitis)
Kevin and I have experienced all of these at one time or another. So when the phone rang last Sunday morning, I answered it less than enthusiastically - until I found out who it was and why they were calling.
Rewind a bit to over two years ago. The property just past Unity sold to a truck driver named Joe. Joe had a little boy who was almost the exact same age as Owen (9-10 months), and Joe had just been through an awful divorce. He told us that he had a sister in Florida named Abby who urged him to visit Unity. She was a homeschooling mom of seven and attended a Reformed Presbyterian church.
Joe attended off and on. We sent clothes and food for him and his son often. I would occasionally receive phone calls from Joe, who understandably had many parenting questions. A few times Kevin also ended up chatting with him, encouraging him to find relief from his difficult circumstances in Christ alone. It was apparent that Joe did not know Christ, but we prayed for him. With Kevin's permission, I gave Joe the NIV Bible that Kevin had bought me a year or so into our marriage. My name was even engraved on the front. But I had moved on to the (in?)famous Reformation Study Bible in ESV and was happy to share. I practically wrote a novel in the front of the Bible and gave it to Joe.
Shortly after, Joe disappeared and we didn't hear from him again. Until...
His sister called me last Sunday! I could tell that the lady on the other end of the line was a bit hesitant. She explained who she was and told me that Joe had just gone through another difficult time and had asked her to take his son. Abby said that at first she said no. After all, she had seven children of her own! But in her words, God "changed her heart" and the little one has been "nothing but a joy to their entire family."
Abby went on to tell me the best part - Joe has recently repented and has accepted Christ as Lord of his life! He has apparently been wearing out John Piper CDs to the point of memorizing them - a by-product of the many hours a trucker spends on the road. The boy is still with Abby, and Joe is renting out his house beside the church, spending time with his son in Florida on his days off.
The most touching thing for me was the reason Abby decided to call me - a complete stranger. She knows NOTHING about me; I could be in some snake-handling Calvin cult. (Just go to Wikipedia, type in "snake handling," and click on the comments where I stated my opinion two years ago about THAT, lol!) But she called me because she read the note. She looked in his Bible, the one with my name on the front. The nice one my sweet husband gave me for Christmas when we were young and broke. And she read the note. Then she found my number, because Joe had written it down so he could ask things like "do I need to brush his teeth three times a day" and "how much formula should he be drinking?" And she called me.
For that, I give thanks. Soli Deo Gloria!
And if you think of it, pray for Joe and his son.