Sunday, October 09, 2005

Someone Else's Elsewhere

"Someone else's elsewhere"... those are the words my friend Erin wrote in an email to me nearly a month ago when we had finalized plans for the Gomez family to move into our home. Erin had only moved out of our home a week or so beforehand after living with us for a number of months.

I had mentioned to Erin, probably more than anyone else, the feeling I had that God was calling me to do "more," not in the sense of more work at the church (in fact I felt pretty strongly that God was telling me to refocus those efforts) but more of the work of Christ. To get down and dirty, out on the mission field, or feeding the hungry, or something. I really didn't know. Erin became a likely target for my mental wanderings because she had actually been a missionary in China for a year.

When Katrina hit, Amy and I immediately decided to open our home, something made more feasible by the ironic fact that Erin had only days before found another place to live. One other thing that might have stood in the way of providing such help was that until recently we were a one crappy car family. Back in August when the financial dragons were about kick in our door I sold Amy's van. However recently, some very generous friends literally gave us a car. It's difficult to get everyone where they need to be now, with one car it would have simply been impossible.

So I see God's hand at work in this in many ways.

This morning I received an email from Suzan - the woman who along with her husband - picked up Lee and Ana in Baton Rouge, drove them to New Orleans and helped them sort through their memories and mementos and then drove them all the way back to San Antonio. Their's was an amazing sacrifice. I started to write her back and realized the words I was writing were not mine, they were in essence the words Erin had written to me, and it all hit home. Someone else's elsewhere.

Right now, the Gomez family is getting ready and soon we will drive to church together to worship God. A God who makes all things possible. Who allows a family with limited resources to realize they have everything they need - even enough to provide a family who really has nothing a place to be someone else's elsewhere.

This same God reunited us with generous friends who gave us a car in our exact moment of need. The God who provided people like Suzan and Tommy in Athens, Texas who rearranged their lives to love the Gomez family and demonstrate God's love in such practical ways....and the God who inspired Erin to write these words to me almost a month ago:

I know you've mentioned your and Amy's desire to serve and "do missions" or whatever...I hope you realize you're right in the middle of it. Hospitality is a great gift you've been given that I can see has blessed many (personal experience can testify!) and will continue to bless many. Perhaps you will never "go" elsewhere to serve, but being the light and love of Christ and "home" in someone else's "elsewhere"...that is also true service.

I will feel good about worshipping God today, for He is never elsewhere...He is always here.

Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. Psalm 105:4

**artwork by Paul Crimi