Sunday, February 10, 2008

Very Important Visitor

This week we had a very quick but very wonderful visit from a very dear friend of mine who I hadn't seen for about 5 years. On Thursday afternoon, I went to the airport to pick up my friend Michele, who was on her way to Boston from Waco and decided to schedule a layover in KC so that we could hang out for an evening. Michele and I met back in 1992 when we were co-counselors at Kids Across America, a Christian sports camp for inner-city youth. Michele taught me so much about working with the underprivileged girls in our charge, which was very different than working with the ultra privileged population of kids at Kanakuk, where I'd spent the first half of my summer. Michele was always full of energy and always made everyone laugh (if I had the scanner hooked up I'd share some hysterical pictures of her being goofy), but most importantly, she had an amazing heart for the inner-city girls in our cabin. I was lucky enough to be on staff with her in the summer of 1993 as well.

Since Michele went to Baylor, we didn't see each other often, but we kept in contact throughout the next year, which took a lot more effort than it would now since those were the days before email! In the summer of 1994, Michele and our friends Julie and Sonia drove the almost 400 miles to be present at the most important event of my life, and I can't even explain to you how much it meant to have them there. That's Michele on the left--I scanned this one picture a few years ago when I met my friend Tish and I wanted to show her why she reminded me of my friend Sonia.

Michele and I touched base occasionally over the next few years, and then in 2001 she made a move across the world, which ironically, probably kept us in closer contact than we would have been in otherwise. She moved to a country in northeast Africa with a church-planting team from her church, with the vision and hope that the people of that nation might come to know the love of Christ. In an amazing act of courage and selflessness, she moved away from her family and country and sought out relationships with the Muslim people whom God had put on her heart. Her desire is that some day a body of believers will grow up from her city and have a church where they can worship together, despite living in a country where they could lawfully be killed for leaving the Muslim faith. We've been honored to be supporters of her ministry for the last 7 years and are continually amazed by her resilience, determination and faith.

So on Thursday evening and Friday morning, for just a few hours I was able to enjoy my friend Michele's company, and I quickly remembered why I loved hanging out with her so many summers ago. It was inspiring to hear stories of her life in northeast Africa, which made us truly thankful for the luxuries and freedoms we enjoy here in the U.S. We invited our small group from church over as well, and Michele shared more about her Muslim friends and her ministry, which was very timely since our group is currently studying a very interesting book on the history of the Muslim faith called No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam. Michele's visit could not have been timed more perfectly!

I was sad that Michele's visit wasn't longer, but so thankful that I was able to see her briefly. I'm thankful for her example and her inspiration, impressed by her courage and commitment, and honored to call her my friend.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Kim, I am so happy for you to have this wonderful friend here. I can't imagine doing what she does. And, the perfect information for your group.