One of the primary reasons for coming to Slovakia is to ‘be with’. Jesus did the same thing; one of His names, Emmanuel, literally means to be with.
Be with who? The CCE staff, the students, and each other. Jesus sought out the quiet kid in the corner, not because He felt sorry for them but because He had compassion for them and loved them. Jesus hung out with sinners, the unclean, and the infirm. His choice, His preference, His desire to seek and save.
A friend in the States told me a personal story about a dark time in his life. He would bike or run quite a bit and use that time to wrestle with the Lord over setbacks and the stuff of life. He began to notice loose change dropped along the paths and sidewalks- beat up, run over by cars, dirty, tar sticking to it, marred, sometimes defaced. He decided to start picking it up and collecting it- as a reminder that Jesus picks us up along the road to change, beat up, dirty, marred, defaced. Only Jesus doesn’t stop there, at great expense to Himself He tenderly comforts us as He cleans us up and restores us, so we may be with Him always.
I had not thought of this story in a couple of years. I was on my way back from a nice afternoon run when I almost missed them, but turned around and picked up two 10¢ pieces on the sidewalk. Two more lives collected and saved, restored in value as I put them back to work in their created purpose (as the analogy goes). I smiled as I thought of my friend and looked forward to being with him the week of my return to the States.
As I finished my run I thought of how there are people segregated in Slovakia- the Roma. The quiet kids in the corner, the outcasts, discarded, lost, marred, tarred, run over, forgotten. I remember how the GO Team visited the area where they live on previous trips- to be with them, love on them, and demonstrate to them they are valued.
Jesus stops and picks up the pennies and nickels, not just the dimes and quarters, and not only the pretty and clean ones. And I’m eternally grateful for that.
Hoping to find more road change this trip, and quiet kids in the corner, to be with.
Thanks for praying, it makes all the difference.