[written on 7/21/21]
I was up early today, to shave, take my pills, dress, and be ready to roll if the appointment in my book was still on. Turns out, it wasn’t, but would take place in another week.
It would be a gathering of friends, surrounding a minister to the people and government of Kenya. For decades Sam Owens had been a presence in Kenya and beyond, working through the National Prayer Breakfast movement, reaching larger and larger groups each year. But, on the side, he and his wife had welcomed many travelers to their Kenya home and their life and faith witness there, including the Windpump “Boys of Summer,” who traveled in Africa under the guidance of World Vision and our group of five churches in Edina, who had ventured out to Africa in 1982 and had their lives profoundly moved.
Sam’s lovely wife died within the recent months – a huge loss for Sam and their children. He is traveling now in the U.S., visiting friends, and I’m sure, doing fund-raising indirectly.
But, the relationship is real, and we all are eager to see him – to extend the hand of Christian fellowship, and be of what comfort we can, and assure him of our love as he goes forward into a new life on his own.
Of course, he has important ministry works waiting to be done in Kenya and East Africa, and we, his friends here, hope to hear about that, and the plans he has, and the projects that are underway. We want to encourage him if we can and be supportive as we are able.
Sam’s work is relational, as it has always been. He moves through friendship, lifting up the name and love of Jesus wherever he goes. We try to do the same, here at home. Witnessing as we go, holding each other up, praying for each other when we can be together – AND when we are apart.
So, gathering for breakfast in Minneapolis will be a checking-in time on each other. Catching up on what’s happening in our various lives – Sam’s and ours, praying for a host of things, hearing what the needs are, writing them down so we can really help, and do what we say we’ll do.
I know from my recent hospital days how real those needs are, and how much those prayers count – giving us very life.
So, that’s the task of Christian friends. That’s the reason for breakfast, or lunch, or coffee together. To be at table, as Jesus so often was, with His dearest friends.
I’m trying to do that with mine here at home. With the old Confirmation kids of 50 years ago, who still want to talk, and pray, and encourage me, and be themselves encouraged. My wonderful friend and assistant sets up those meetings for me. And sends letters, and types my odd blogs, in the hope they will lift some friend on the way.
It’s what you do when you’re not so steady on your feet anymore, when house calls, as in the old ministry days, aren’t possible anymore, and even the telephone, in its cell phone form is sometimes baffling.
I had to bring the Faith Line to an end. But, I can write. And I can sit by the fireside at home, or in a coffee shop, and listen, and try to discern how the battle goes for the friends in life Jesus has given me, and what word I can add for them as they head out on the road of their lives each day.
That is pure joy for me, as I too, travel the road of life with the greatest Friend of all, our Lord and Savior Jesus. Join me, would you?
[If you are need of someone to listen, or would just like to share a cup of coffee with Arthur, please contact me through his email address: firstname.lastname@example.org – Laury]
Arthur A Rouner, Jr -
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ARTHUR ROUNER MINISTRIES
All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation. . ."