Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wonderful Wednesday #14 - Building Relationships

We had been living in J.O.E. for about 3 months before we seriously started looking for a church home.  We tried a couple of churches but they weren't a great fit. 

One Sunday morning we were trying yet another church and as we were walking up the path to the front door, the bell tolled and someone pulled the large wooden door shut - right in front of us.  He saw us walking up the path to that church and instead of holding the door open for us he shut it - both literally and figuratively. 

We stopped midstride and looked at each other in disbelief.  We were already dressed for church and remembered another church started a little later so we headed that direction. 

As soon as we walked in there was an air of familiarity.  People were so friendly.  After the service they invited everyone into the fellowship hall for coffee and we were surrounded by people.  They said they knew we were American from the moment we walked in since I had a dress on and Engineer was wearing a shirt & tie - obviously we stood out in the rather casually attired congregation.

Mr. & Mrs. B came and introduced themselves to us and after talking for a while, invited us for lunch at their house.  We had known them a total of 20 minutes and they invited us for Sunday roast dinner.  Something you should know about Engineer and I, we will do almost anything for food; we knew this was the right church for us by the offer of food. 

Okay, so now you know the background, and yes, our church family there was wonderful, but the real wonderful part of that story is the openness for opportunity when it came to relationship building.  That family woke up and went about their day as per usual never thinking that a couple of Americans would be joining them for lunch at their house. 

Firstly, Mrs. B is an amazing cook and is totally prepared for anything that her hubby throws at her (like 2 extras for lunch) but also the B family is always open for opportunities to develop relationships.  There is something so vulnerable and real about having people over to your house - especially ones you don't know well. 

We have tried to follow their example and have people round for tea or supper for no other reason than to get to know them better.  One never knows if it will lead to a great friendship or merely a nice diversion over the grand scheme of someone's life, but the act in itself of meeting someone and inviting them to your home may have an impact on both of you beyond measure.

Thank you Bradshaw family for your friendship from the start.  We miss you...and your roast dinners.  ;)

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