Wednesday, February 23, 2011

In the Presence of Friends

Yesterday afternoon I got to spend time with some of my most lovely friends, and they live at the Warm Beach Senior Community.

Meet my friends Gladys, Nita, Betty, John, Ruby, Leona
I used to see them on Tuesdays as the Intercessors group met to pray for the needs of the church family.  If you really want to get to know someone, spend some time praying together.  I know these folks to be wise, tenderhearted, and full of compassion, friends of God, and confident in His desire to answer prayer.  Some of those prayers were for me and my family as well.  How many times, I wonder, did this group surround me when I was the one in need of prayer?  

A year or two ago our group disbanded, leaving me little opportunity to see these friends.  So Nita and I decided we needed to visit them at the Senior Community.  We arrived to find them all seated in the alcove of Cedar Court, walkers parked near by.  Over coffee and goodies, we chatted about world travels, missions, grandchildren, and family connections.

All of our friends are in their 90s.  None is free of health problems, yet they are gracious people, joy-filled and quick to encourage.  John and Ruby, who spent many years in China and the Philippines as missionaries, opened their home to international students upon their return to Seattle.  Leona lost her husband as a young wife, raised her son alone, and spent many years as a teacher and a missionary.  Later she married my grandma's cousin.  Betty was a school cook at Coe Elementary in Seattle where she and her husband raised three delightful daughters, all friends of mine.  She exemplifies Paul's words, "in everything give thanks."  Gladys and her pharmacist husband operated a drug store for 30 years. After his death she set off for Burundi (on her 65th birthday!) to work in a dispensary; she spent most of the next eight years in Africa.

They all have lived their lives to serve God and others; I am honored to call them friends.

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