The Gift of Presence
For nearly two weeks, those of us in the Saint Paul Area Synod have been blessed by the presence of ou[...]
Grace Lutheran Church of Apple Valley just recently traveled to our partnership congregation, Santa Elena, and I was blessed with the opportunity to be able to travel as a part of the delegation.
When I think about the phrase, caminando juntos (walking together), I look back on our trip and how we were able to connect with our friends in Santa Elena. Since there were quite a variety of personalities on the trip, everyone's "connections" looked a little different varying from person to person. While some of us focused on doing more hands-on labor kind of work, others just wanted to be in the presence of the people in the village.
An experience that really stood out to me was when I had the opportunity to sit down with this little girl and talk to her through our delegation leader, Todd. Thinking that she would point out her family right in front of me, I asked her where her mother was and through Todd, she told me that she had died about 7 months ago. At first I didn't really know what to say, or how to comfort her. I decided to tell her that I had also lost a parent when I was younger, and that I knew what that was like. She started to ask me more questions about it, like how it happened, and how old I was. Towards the end of the conversation she told me how happy she was that she got to meet me and that I was there. I think it was one of the most understanding conversations I've had with someone and we didn't even speak the same language.
That just goes to show how it doesn't matter what you have or don't have, or what part of the country or world you live in, there are still similarities in the relationships we have with one another, and I really think that helps us to grow in those relationships as well.
Grace Lutheran, Apple Valley