Saturday, October 8, 2011

the rest of the story

Pots of chicken curry, pounds of fruit salad, a basket full of fresh rolls, two big frosted chocolate cakes and a vegetable platter with dip sat waiting in our kitchen. 

And we sat waiting, too.

I had planned so carefully.  I'd been collecting food for a week, cooking for the whole day.  The living room was rearranged, and everything was ready for a houseful of guests - fellow believers who would meet together to eat dinner and pray.  I had wanted to bless these people - lovely Filipinos who have welcomed us despite our differences as brothers and sisters in Christ.  I wanted to serve them, and to honor them with plenty of good food, and a pleasant place to meet to pray.

The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men,
Gang aft agley, 
-Robert Burns

Outside the rain fell.  And fell some more. I've never seen our street so full of water.

Michael sloshed through it to carry some flip flops up to Mark at the office so that he could walk home without drenching his shoes.

And the texts began to fly.
'We are waiting for the rain to subside - we'll try to be there in an hour.'
'Our street is flooded, and there are no taxis or jeeps running - we won't be able to come.'
'My husband is planning to come; he's waiting now for some sort of transportation.'
'I have made it to Torres street, but I see no transport from here.'
'I'm still waiting on Torres - there are lots of others waiting, too, but there are not many vehicles going through.'
An hour later - 'I am still waiting on Torres, but I'm thinking of going home instead.  I don't see any way to get to your place.'

It was about that time that our family gave up and started eating dinner.  To my western mind, there's just no way that anyone would brave this storm, this flood water, *just* to come together to pray.  I sadly began to put the food away. I'd so wanted this food to be a blessing.  I don't love to cook, but I had cooked this food with joy, as I thought of how it would be shared.  I walked into our school room and saw the note on our white board this week...

Ultimately, I had not done it for them, but for Him.  For His glory.  These circumstances had not surprised Him, and though the people were not there to be blessed, all was well.

And then, out on the street we heard a small voice, "Aiyo?"  It was after 7pm.  Our sweet friend Tata had spent 2 hours in transit to come to pray.  She had braved the waters, taken three jeepneys, saw a car up to its hood in water, and sat through horrible traffic jams just to join us.

Half an hour later two others arrived also.  Here are the three brave souls who made it through.

We fed them lots of curry and chocolate cake,

then bowed in prayer with them,
bilingually coming before the throne.

How humbling to hear them pray for each of our family by name-
these faithful hearts who would brave such weather
to meet in prayer.

 As the girls and I boxed up the remaining food to send home with them for their families,
I realized that God had given me back the joy of being able to feed
some of those I had in mind while I prepared.

 It wasn't the way I planned,
but God's good way instead.

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