|You can build relationships in the strangest places...|
- Earlier this week I got a phone call from Stephanie Greife, a young woman who was a part of the Wesley Memorial UMC group (2001-2005). She recently moved back to Tampa and was calling to get together and talk, which we hope to do very soon. She called because she knows that the relationship we built during our years together is not fake or built on sinking sand. It can withstand hardships. It's real. I love that.
- Marilyn and I ate lunch yesterday with Todd Willis, a regular reader of this blog. Todd was part of the FUMC-K family (1994-2000) and we had not seen him since he and Adam Spafford visited us in Chicago in 2001. We talked family, religion, politics, old friends and the future. Todd knows my story and loves me anyway. Being together after 10 years was no different than seeing him every week. That's the kind of relationships we ought to be building in youth ministries.
- Upon my return from lunch I had a tweet from Connor Lewis (FUMC-K) saying that his family would be in Tampa in 2 weeks and wanting to get together. We haven't seen Connor since his wedding several years ago. And yet seeing him in 2 weeks will take precedence over anything else on our calendar, because he is that important to us. Real relationships have real meaning.
- Lisa Kraus Spires is pregnant, making her one of about 6 former FUMC-K students in that situation. She is 12 weeks in; I had the honor of praying for her for several weeks while she told no one else in case something went wrong. All because of the relationship we built 15 years ago when I was her youth pastor. In a few weeks, Lisa, Caitlin Esry, Bethany Esry, Jerry & Melissa Hanbery and hopefully a few others ( anyone else who will be in Tampa April 9th!) are going to have lunch together over a decade after we went our separate ways. The relationships are stronger than the years.
- Ann Saunders Hale and Jamie Robinson from my group at Springfield Friends Meeting (1986-1994) always make me smile on Twitter. I haven't seen either of them in many years, yet as soon as we found each other through this blog and on Twitter it was as if no time had passed at all. And I continue to be a prayer partner for another old Springfield youth, Ashley Goad Broadhurst, as she helps build water supply systems in Haiti. If the relationship was strong, old quickly becomes new again.
Because of Jesus,