The days were long and the heat merciless upon the skin of four season natives. Every step was sweatier than the last and every word closer to another sip of cool water. The red dirt mirrored the sun as it stained our shoes and burnt through our comforts.
The flesh was forcefully expelled into a transparent domain of microscopic monitors, while the spirit was left to explore a realm it has been to many times before. A realm the flesh cannot dwell within, only adjust to.
My Pastor, an ordinary man with an extraordinary calling, a well of dad jokes, white non-tropical skin, a star shine smile and a rich forest of wisdom. What an honor it was to assess risk & resolve alongside you in the wildly exotic & maddening heat that is India.
I watched you react to the children's smiles and deep hearts of joy, knowing more than most of their dark and desolate pasts and in the same moment I watched you turn to your own children silently thanking God for His grace. I saw your spirit jump when you taught men and women from the farthest and nearest parts of India about The One who's thread of love connects us all. I heard your laughs when your family's need for WiFi seemed to outrank their need for water. I saw your heart brim with conviction when Phyllis spoke gold, diamonds and gems onto a dinner table of open treasure chests. I heard you honor my parents at a Sunday Service where you spoke on letting God's grace pour out and over flow into others and into aspects of our lives. That's what you did for me that day. Even if only half of the congregation understood half of what you said, there wasn't a spirit in there that did not understand.
I remember looking at the dreadfully stained and dirt washed walls of the Boy's Orphanage with you. I saw sadness weigh onto your heart as you said, "this is something we have to help with."
On our last day we were squeezed into a hot van, beeping and speeding away to the Cochin Airport, Rehoboth behind us, and another adventure before us. We sat together and I remember thinking, "what a blessing and honor it is to be able to share this time with my Pastor." I asked you many laughable things and many reflective things. I will always remember that time, I thank God for it. It's not every day you can share intentional, inspiring and strengthening words with your pastor while an elephant casually walks past on the street.
This post I offer as thanks to you God for this man.
Romans 10:15And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"