Sunday, June 26, 2011

Guests from the Valley

7:47 p.m. Today's project was to welcome Steven's girlfriend Kathy and her family to our home this afternoon. As I write this, the two uber-athletes and kinesiology majors are across the street in Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park hiking.

The two met through a mutual friend, started talking at the gym they both belong to, and later had a chemistry class together at the Christian college they attend, Fresno Pacific University. At the small Mennonite school, I imagine the kinesiology majors all know one another, unlike massive settings like CSU or UC, and are taking many of the same math and science classes. But prayer is what brought them together in ministry.

Last fall, after some financial struggles, Steven just knew the Lord wanted him to remain in Fresno, where he is a leader in high school ministry, and a part of the college group. And he had already been led to form a Saturday night prayer group with two other students. Just as Psalm 138:8 assures believers that "the LORD will perfect all that concerns me," Steven found housing and enrolled in classes.

The prayer group was small, but mighty in the Spirit's power. They decided to bake cookies each Thursday night to hand out in the student lounge each Friday. Nothing was said out loud, but their fellows began coming to them for prayer. Hundreds of healings took place, Steven told me.

"Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit,"

Says the LORD of hosts." (Zechariah 4:6)

In addition to Saturday night prayer, the two of them go street witnessing in difficult areas of Fresno, attend The People's Church together, and cook low carb meals together. During the summer, Kathy comes into Fresno for soccer practice at the school, where she has earned a scholarship. And Steven goes to visit her in Bakersfield at her family's home.

I was very excited when a plan came together for her family to visit friends in the L.A. area, and then come out to our house to visit. We had a nice time with her parents and 8 year old brother. We got to know each other while their young Steven played with our dogs alongside my husband Steve, and enjoyed the large toy cars Steve found for him in our garage. We had a tour of the garden, taking advantage of the dogs being distracted by dinner time, to go out there. We even found a ripe strawberry!

When her parents left with little Steven (and a new Mary Kay lipstick!), my Steven and Kathy went hiking in the Canyon, enjoying perfect weather and local wildlife. They are now off to Redlands to see my dad and then back home tonight to Fresno via Bakersfield.

This weekend has been amazing, as we hosted almost 200 people at our daughter's wedding, and made new friends right here in our home. The Lord knows what each of us needs, and the joy of hospitality and convivial conversation are, to me, some of the greatest of God's gifts to man.

Proverbs 18:24 says,

A man who has friends must show himself friendly.

Thank you, Lord, for creating friendships, relationships, and the ability to enjoy them!

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