Monday, December 8, 2014

The Gift of Time

My friend Amy Howell encouraged me to take one day a week on the blog to share a page from my personal life. My days are so busy with meetings, R&D, traveling, etc., that I literally start a week and turn around and it’s already Friday but I couldn't help to share this story!

Gene and I had the pleasure of being a host family for a precious group last weekend. The name of the organization is Daraja, which means bridge. They are a group of young children ages 9-13 from Kenya and Uganda who came to the US to sing praise and worship music. Our church was hosting them and we were contacted about being a host family.

I really didn’t think much of it at the time. They would come visit, we would take them around the city and spend the weekend with them. I’m tearing up just writing this…

We went to pick them up at our church.  Hearing the rules for the weekend, I was taken aback by being told to "not to give them gifts."  These children are not used to having many "things" like children in the US have.

I thought, "how in the world am I not going to give gifts to these girls." I soon found out, I actually WAS able to give them a gift - I was able to give them the most valuable gift, TIME. I was going to connect with two young girls from Africa in such a profound way that I would never be the same.

We also hosted two amazing young women who are in the middle of a 6 month internship. They travel on a bus with this group from Africa all over the US. The love and commitment they had for these children was amazing.  I loved staying up late conversing with two amazing young women - Carlee and Kendall. These women have such a heart for the Lord and they are truly seeking to find out what His will is for their lives. I was so encouraged to see 24 year olds that were not about their looks, their stuff, or texting all the time. They want to invest in people, have deep conversations, and they want to serve.

Early Saturday morning we thought we would take the two young girls from Africa - AnnSharon and Teddy to Starbucks for hot chocolate. As we pulled up to the drive through window, they were wide eyed and amazed at how we were talking to someone that we could not see. Where is this person? How are you talking to them? It then dawned on me that they had never been to a Starbucks - they had never even been through a drive through. Their life was so simple and so happy. Their smile was endearing and their laugh was frequent and infectious.

Carlee, Annsharon, Teddy, Kendall
First Starbucks

How is it that we live such lives of entitlement and that we are so self-seeking that it is all about stuff and how many things we can get before we leave this earth. Why is it that we miss the greatest gift of relationships and people?

One of the reasons why I love teaching so much is that I get to really connect with people in a deep way. Creativity and learning brings us back transparency and sharing. This holiday season, I encourage you to get out of your comfort zone. Get with someone that is not part of your circle of friends. Invite them to dinner. Ask them about their dreams and their goals. Walk with them. See how you can help them make their dreams and desires come true. Connect with them in such a way that they feel valued.

If you do this, I truly believe you will feel like I do. You will be the one who will be blessed.