Few things this side of heaven are more precious to me than to witness the love that others demonstrate to my children. I can’t describe how my heart wells up with gratitude for a child who takes Averi by the hand and leads her up a slide. And then catches her when she decides to swan dive off the top of it. Or a young boy who takes the time to assemble a set of train tracks that JJ can’t quite master. It warms my heart when our babysitter Courtney (Ms. “Corny,” according to JJ) describes how much she misses the kids when we have been out of town. I am thankful for a waiter or waitress who takes the time to interact with JJ when he decides to tell them in great detail about his Cookie Monster Band-Aid.
I have a deep affection toward those who demonstrate a Christlike love toward our precious little ones. Those who listen to them, hug them, and show affection toward them the way Jesus did in Matthew 19:14.
This week Brian and I had the opportunity to see that Christlike love in action. I do believe there is no fiercer human love than that of a grandparent—not only toward their own grandchildren but toward any child who might serve as a “surrogate” grandchild for the moment.
We had the privilege of hosting two amazing surrogate grandparents this week. Jim and Patty are missionary friends who work for Biblical Ministries Worldwide. We met them at the church we attended in Brandon, England. (We lived in East Anglia from 2008-2011, and Brandon Baptist Church became our “home church” while we were there.) Jim and Patty are Americans who have served the Lord faithfully in the UK for 33 years as teachers, encouragers, witnesses, and great ambassadors for the Lord. While we didn’t get to know them as well as we would have liked, we did grow very close to their American colleagues, Larry and Kathleen. However, the time we spent with Jim and Patty this week felt like we traveled back to the fellowship hall at Brandon Baptist Church and got to sit down with tea and scones and talk about the weather for hours.
Except for the tea part. I always forget to buy tea.
While it was wonderful to hear more about their work in the UK and their life as missionaries, I especially enjoyed the time they spent interacting with JJ and Averi. They read books, told stories, and patiently listened to JJ say, “Mr. Jim, look! A banana. Mr. Jim, look! An orange.” I’m pretty sure JJ pointed to every item in our home and made Mr. Jim admire it.
I do believe both Jim and JJ exerted enough energy in two days to power a locomotive.
They both nodded off on more than one occasion in rather unusual places. JJ by the front door for instance.
And Mr. Jim at the playground. (Sadly, I missed that photo opportunity.)
While the kids slept, Brian and I had the opportunity to share a bit of our lives with Jim and Patty. We talked about our recent trials and triumphs. We talked about this silly blog (Patty is a faithful reader and Jim loves to impersonate my videos) and how we plan to use it to glorify God. We talked about technology and gave them a few tutorials on how to use their computers and their camera. (I bet my mom just got frustrated. “Ohhhhh…so she can be patient enough to teach OTHER people how to use THEIR technology. But not her own mother!” Yep. Pretty much. But I looooove you, Mama!)
We talked about the state of the UK and the challenges they face leading people to the Lord in a place that generally does NOT like to talk about religion. It was both encouraging and convicting to hear how diligently they have pursued opportunities to share the gospel with unbelievers. It made me consider how often I deny Christ through my silence—even in situations with virtually no risk involved.
This time with our missionary friends was refreshing to my soul, and I thank God for their service and their friendship.
Jim and Patty taught me a great deal in two days. They taught me that true Christian service doesn’t “retire.” We’re never done doing the Lord’s work. They taught me that a grandparent can shower even surrogate grandchildren with the kind of Christlike affection that warms this mama’s heart. And, probably most important of all, they taught me a British word I never did learn in all my years spent in the UK:
How much fun is that to say?
There is no more hilarious word to me right now than numpty. Except, maybe, for nincompoop.
Y’all, I’m like an 8-year-old boy with a book of Mad Libs and potty humor on the brain.
A quick Google search told me that numpty it is a Scottish term short for numb skull. In other words an idiot or a silly person.
As in, “Katy took what was otherwise a sentimental blog post and turned it into something a numpty would write.”
Hurry, somebody get me some Mad Libs!
Meanwhile, Averi’s all, “Hurry, get this numpty to stop taking my picture!”