Tom and Beth have left a comment on the sidebar. They are two people whose hospitality, care and patience helped me in the early days when I had little idea what following Jesus was all about. For several years I was educated in welcome, and given a grounding in one to one pastoral care through their own informal generosity.
Tom and I worked in the same engineering firm for a year or so, we sang together in the Christian Endeavour choir and most weeks I was run home because I;d stayed so late I missed the last bus.When they left for New Zealand I was already sensing God's call to ministry and chasing after Highers at night school to enter University. I've only seen them a couple of times since, when they were home over the past 42 years. Life moves on and so do each of us as we grow, change and slowly become the people God calls us to be, with all the diversity of experience and perspective that shapes and directs us.
But I've never forgotten you Tom and Beth, and always look back on that first Christian friendship as one of the rooting powders that helped my life towards a rootedness and stability in a faith that has sustained me. We can never know who it is we help and befriend, nor how their lives and ours turn out. But amongst the strategic graces with which God blesses our lives are those who befriend us, encourage us, and who share parts of our journey with us. Tom and Beth have been two such graces in my life, and it's a Christmas surprise to hear from them.
God bless you in your own retitrement in Brisbane, and the peace of the Prince of Peace fill you home and your hearts.