Diana and I had the joy of hosting a young fellow in our home from Georgia – the country – back in 1994-95. We were living in married student housing on the campus of the Presbyterian School of Christian Education in Richmond, where I was a student. David’s father had been the minister of Justice in Georgia when he met my uncle at a World Jurist Conference. Before he died, he wrote my uncle a letter asking him to help take care of his boy.
David was a junior in high school when he came over, and we were all too eager to take him in, since we still had no children of our own. He quickly became a regular part of our family, and he was a part of all that we did for 3 semesters, including family trips, hikes in the woods, and church.
David tagged along with me when I was scoping out a church for us to attend, and I’ll never forget his amazement when I singled out one that was clearly set apart from the rest. They all seemed the same to him, he willingly joined us and joined the youth group. Coming from a nominal Orthodox background, he was open to learn more, and between a good youth leader, lots of great discussions about faith, and the Holy Spirit, he gave his life to Jesus that first year.
Times were not always easy. He frustrated us with some of his juvenile ways, and we probably upset him by exposing him to our rocky early marriage, but it was a painful goodbye in the end. Without going into details for his sake, things fell apart for David not long after he left for college, and we hardly heard from him for the next 13 years.
He contacted us a few months ago, he later told me under compulsion from God, and we were back in relationship as though it almost had never stopped. We found out that he has had an incredible and even dangerous ride in the years in between. One of his job experiences that needs a movie script is detailed here.
Before we knew it, he was insisting that we come, on his dime, to visit him at his new residence in Dubai where he is helping lead a team to do no less that totally restructure the entire government of the country. It was hard for us to accept his very generous offer, but we decided we had to receive it from God’s hand.
It was an incredible trip for the kids, which I will let Lydia tell you about (the kids and David got on famously), but most special for me was connecting with the man who held such a special place in my heart, and I hadn’t even known it. We care about him like a son, and we worry about him like a son. I asked him at one point what he most remembered from his days with us, and he immediately answered, “that I got saved with you.” Of course we had had no idea how much of what we had poured into David stuck, and we could ask for no more than this. My prayer is that we can continue this relationship and deepen that connection. David has already expressed interest in coaching – “but just not yet.”
A side benefit of the trip was the way it confirmed in a surprising way what I had written about in last month’s newsletter. I had said that we were starting to see more and more (and have others tell us) that God would powerfully use us in our own home as we opened it and our hearts to others. Now I can see that God had given me and Diana that ministry as long as 14 years ago before we even knew it. And that when we were hardly “experts” or mature believers.
I guess God doesn’t need any of that to be able to use you.