In our travels and networking, I am frequently blessed by the stories I hear of how God’s people are engaging with nations around them. Stories of love and relationship that goes beyond mere friendship. They are stories of sharing life and love. At a recent gathering we heard one of these stories.
The Alrida family came into our lives when Joe was 7; he is now 17. Joe, Alfa, his mother, and Leena , his five year old sister , came from Saudi Arabia to live in Houston , so Joe could have cancer treatment which involved removing a femur and inserting a rod, so he could grow over treatment time. Our son Doug met Alfa at a stressful time. “You should meet my mother. She prays for people.”
This sentence began a 10 year friendship between Christian and Suni which has been cemented by life’s strongest ties: a love of mothers for their children and a shared belief that God cares for us always. For the first five years, Alfa was here alone with the children. Together we have bought a car and gotten her a driver’s license and a GPS. Leena went from Day Care to an elementary school and now high school. We’ve picnicked together, discussed and solved transportation issues, and they have joined us for every holiday gathering from sparklers to go with 4th of July to carols in the background for Christmas Eve.
Aman, the husband has come when able the last five years and we’ve welcomed new babies and taken food and had older children spend the night. At first, Alfa covered her hair and wore only long sleeves and skirts to our house. Now she has shorter uncovered hair, pants, and short sleeves. She has brought her family to meet us when they have visited. We have hugged over treatment setbacks and rejoiced on college acceptance. Just last week a problem with an Arab edict was solved, so they did not have to return before a treatment issue was resolved. Alfa’s e-mail was entitled Praise God. I’ve been given a sister under God the Father and His love has poured on both of us. by Charis Smith
This weekend is Easter. I think about how Jesus shared life with his disciples. He walked with them, ate with them, prayed with them, stayed with them and undoubtedly laughed and cried with them. In a world that is on the move, we are given serendipitous moments when we can be the hands of Jesus helping the nations, the feet of Jesus walking with the nations, the mouth of Jesus praying for the nations, the heart of Jesus loving the nations. Happy Happy Easter!