Encourage each other while it is still today. —Hebrews 3:13
Have you ever had a pen pal? I was in elementary school when I learned that some of the girls had them. And I was always a bit envious of them. I wanted one too.
But as the years slipped by, I never did form a pen pal relationship. Then about six or seven years ago I wrote to several cheese operations in England to inquire for my cheese-making husband if they were interested in his help.
Only one of the operations responded. She had noticed the bible verse at the bottom of my email and asked if I was a Christian. From across the pond a new friendship was born. That was the beginning of our pen pal relationship.
I had been writing to my precious friend, Maryse, in France for over 38 years. When we had become like sisters while Rey was playing basketball in our sweet little town in southern France.
But this was different. We had never known one another before. We were total strangers. Yet, because of the Savior we had an instant bond.
Have you ever met a stranger and found that you share him in common? It's such a gift that the Holy Spirit bonds hearts together and you come away friends. You may never meet again. But you will always think of that encounter with fondness. And you may even find yourself praying for them.
It reminds me of Hebrews 13:2, remember to welcome strangers, because some who have done this have welcomed angels without knowing it!
That's what it felt like for me writing to Jane. We were complete strangers, yet somehow, we had formed a friendship from afar. Like entertaining angels unaware.
Soon after we started writing Jane would send me prayer requests. I would send prayer requests to her as well. We sent pictures of our families. And we would listen to one another. Pray for each other. Encourage each other. And cheer each other on… all from a distance.
Until mid-September of this year.
I wrote to Jane that we would be coming to the Peak District in the UK, would she be willing to meet me there? She responded that she would love to meet me. I had no idea that she would driving two hours to come to Chatsworth to walk through the gardens with me.
We met in the glass house. She had been waiting there for me and as soon as I saw her we embraced for several moments. It was like seeing a long-lost friend face-to-face. We then walked the gardens and chatted as if old friends. My hubby got to meet her too, and he asked lots of questions. We talked about her hubby and her kiddos, and of course, her grand-kiddo.
Then we stopped to have supper with my niece and her hubby. She was delighted to meet Tina and Jamie. And they were happy to meet her. It was such a blessing, yet such a short time before we had to part. She had a two-hour trip ahead of her. It was so hard to part. But we are hoping that the next time we can get together for several days and meet her hubby. We'd also love to see their farm. And we invited them to come stay with us if they ever want to come to Minnesota.
All because of a bible verse.
You never know what can come from a bible verse at the bottom of an email. I am richer by far because of it.
Distance never separates two hearts that really care, for our memories span the miles and in seconds we are there. —Henri Nouwen
I have learned that true friendship continues to grow, even over the longest distance. —unknown