Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A good experience

6:34 p.m. Today's project was to take our Korean student to the Co+Op young adult meeting at Sandals church, where our daughter Heather and her husband Nick are in leadership, high school, and young adults respectively.

Jung was feeling a little shy, until she heard that there are other international students who attend. She's already been to two Mary Kay meetings and our Sunday service. Her out of town trips include the Los Angeles Garment District for shopping bargains, Universal Studios, San Diego, and a non-gambling trip to Las Vegas. San Francisco is the destination for her  upcoming 3-day weekend. So she's getting a well-rounded American experience. I had her laughing so hard about the funny sights of New Orleans, like the jazz funerals and crazy Bourbon Street. Maybe she will get another chance to travel here and visit some of our other renowned cities.

As a Christian, she's eager to attend a service just for young adults. And I'm interested in seeing the fruit of Nick's prayers and planning this new ministry. I didn't expect to see Heather, because she'll be helping lead the Frontside high school students, especially the girls she mentors.

Hebrews 10:25 says, and I quote it often, that Christians are not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together, because we have so much of Christ's love and teaching to share with one another.

Jung was quiet as I introduced her to Nick, and then Megan, Heather's best friend. Cara invited her into the "English" group, where international students mingle with locals to practice their speaking skills. That's where I left her, and went about my way, picking up groceries and supplies for my team member and Christian sister Chelsey's baby shower Saturday. And praise the Lord, my daughter Heidi is coming to take her dad out, maybe for a movie and a walk, or even a haircut to fill the 3-hour time slot! Psalm 127:3 has it right,

Children are an heritage of the Lord, and the fruit of the womb is His reward.

I have nothing but good to say about our experience with the UCR Homestay program, and will let them know that we would like to continue with one adult guest at a time. Granted, not all of the students will have the sweet, cheerful personality of Jung, or enjoy our relatively quiet lifestyle. Some might struggle with Steve's disability on a personal basis, finding the details awkward. But even some friends and acquaintances we know shy away, and that's understandable. We all cope (or don't cope) with handicaps and disability differently.

In reading the Book of Job the last few weeks, I wonder what I'd do if I had a disability that was outwardly obvious, and as Job described his experience in Chapter 19:13-14, 17-19 (NLT):

My relatives stay far away, and my friends have turned against me.
My family is gone, and my close friends have forgotten me.
My breath is repulsive to my wife.
I am rejected by my own family.
Even young children despise me.
When I stand to speak, they turn their backs on me.
My close friends detest me.
Those I loved have turned against me.

We in the Body of Christ certainly like to think, and sincerely hope, that the handicapped are warmly welcomed--and assisted--in our fellowships.I know that after going through Alzheimer's with Steve, I will not view a person stumbling and needing to be led by the hand in the same way, as a helpless person deserving pity and only the briefest of conversations when we encounter them. I will treat them as Jung treats Steve, as a natural, regular active person in the household--or in the household of Christ on Sunday mornings.

Yes, God knew just the person we needed to stay with us this month , and next week when she leaves, Jung will be missed!

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