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God’s embrace through the hug of a friend

We pulled up to the church late Sunday afternoon. Our three-day team retreat for the urban poor ministry was finished, and although the time had been good, I was feeling quite worn out. My Thai co-worker and I began to unload the vehicle. I didn’t expect anyone to be at the church, but the door suddenly swung open, and several church members stepped out. Among them was Granny Phim. Wrinkles creased even deeper into her face as she gave me a beautiful smile and came straight toward me, enveloping me in a wonderful hug. I felt God’s love so clearly in this embrace of friendship, this open acknowledgement that she had missed me and was happy to see me again.
Granny Phim and I grew together in a special way last year. She is a new believer, and I needed to work through a discipleship book for my language learning. We agreed to study together, and as I grew in my language ability, she grew in her knowledge of God’s design and plan for the world.
When we read about Creation together, a sunrise of understanding broke over her 70-year-old face like the first sunrise over the new Earth. “Oh! I have been wondering and wondering about this since I was a child!” she exclaimed. “I always wanted to know how the earth came to be — and now I know!”
I’m so thankful for Granny Phim and her place in my heart.

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