LIVE IT AND GIVE IT (Zug, Switzerland)- for August 2010
What an incredible July for my family in our return to visit Summit County (Frisco) Colorado after moving away from there 6 years ago! It wasn’t just a vacation in a beautiful place, nor just re-connecting with old friends and church family, but it was truly an “American Heritage Re-Discovery” for our family, in particular for our kids. When we left Colorado in 2004, Livia was 7 and Silas 3 and upon our return Livia is a teenager at 13 and Silas 9 with baby Sarah at 18 months, seeing the Rockies for the first time! For Livia and Silas who are in the Swiss school system in the German language, it was the first time in a long time that they were in an all (American) English environment. A funny thing about our trip in regards to my language skills was the fact that several people in Colorado discussed my accent in English as not being so American anymore, not my kids’! (Oh well, what can I say about all the South African, British, Swiss and Italian (my boss) influences shaping my funny English I’ve grown accustomed to over the past 6 years.)
We made numerous great American “re-discoveries” like the local restaurants of Summit County where a Buffalo Burger is as easy to get as a hamburger, beautiful hikes or wild west horse rides and even shooting real shot guns at clay pigeons with the kids. Another wonderful highlight for the kids was going to Camp Id-Ra-Ha-Je for a week, which they did the week before I arrived to join the family vacation in Colorado. Livia was in Jr. High Camp and joined by her longest friend on record, Hailey (whom she grew up with from nursery age on) and the two of them had the top of two bunk beds together. What a great week of fun, faith and adventure in the mountains of Colorado. Silas was in another area of the vast camp, in the Tepee Camp, where his group of campers didn’t sleep in cabins, but yes, in real tepees! Without having a long lost friend to connect with at camp, Silas did what any kid should do in such a circumstance; make a new friend, like 10 year old Isaiah!
Thus enters another “Everyone Has a Story” segment of Corey’s 2010 year of listening and learning from others peoples stories. Isaiah and Silas hit it off pretty quickly, being in the same tepee and all. Their tepee group of about a dozen boys did many things together alongside and in competition with all the other tepee group teams. What caught Silas’ attention (and heart) about Isaiah was his mention of being adopted. With baby Sarah as part of our family via adoption, Silas knows something about being part of an adoptive family, but it’s the rest of Isaiah’s story that was so captivating to Silas (and his daddy) in that Isaiah was only adopted within the last couple of years. There were seven or eight years of life for Isaiah before being adopted, not just three days after birth like Sarah. During the week Silas and his new friend continued the conversation about life in Switzerland or life in a small American town in their sleeping bags, around meals, during breaks or even crazy “mission impossible” games in the forest. Isaiah shared about how he was in approximately 20 different foster homes during his lifetime before meeting and being adopted by his father and mother and meeting his brothers and sisters, which are now “his family”, not just a stop-over place to stay with “a family”. Isaiah has a joy and appreciation for life and family in a way that intrigued Silas, especially since Silas couldn’t imagine what it would be like to have had such an upbringing, not knowing life as part of the Best family with the same mother, father and sister(s) in his lifetime.
At the end of the week, when Tanya was picking up Silas, he said proudly, “Mom, this is Isaiah, my friend I’ve met at camp this week”. Fortunately, Tanya being the family photo gal that she is, said, “Great, nice to meet you Isaiah. How about we get of photo of you two friends together?”. Only in the days to follow did Silas expand upon the story behind the story of Isaiah. He shared from the heart, and our hearts were wide open to hear the story of Isaiah.
Over the past couple of weeks, as I’ve looked at this picture of these two boys proudly smiling together at camp, with two bright futures ahead, I am so touched to imagine the love of God that has been bestowed upon, not only Isaiah with his family, but his family with Isaiah as well! God has a way that only He can accomplish in “creating family” or creating a place to BELONG, where one can know what it truly means to be home and BELONG as family! I’m like Silas, I grew up in a loving Christian home with the same father and mother, who are now married for more than 45 years…and still living and giving their love and faith away to me! In reality, perhaps even becoming the majority in the world today, there are families and kids that are growing up in a “home” that is far from the traditional family unit of a married father and mother with the 2.5 kids and a dog or cat. Sometimes this breakdown of the family is due to choices of grown ups such as divorce or decisions to not marry but have kids together, etc. but often it’s also due to tragic circumstances such as death and disease of parents, or refugee circumstances that break up families from their homelands. Yes, in our world today, there are plenty of relationship “dysfunctions” in one way or another and so many of them hit pretty much close to home (in every home).
In closing and in encouragement to you, like Isaiah, regardless of where your own story has brought you from, you have a place to BELONG, a place to call home and a FATHER in Heaven who loves you very much….whether you believe it or not! But, like Isaiah – who made such an impression on Silas because of the way he didn’t have to “wish” to belong to a family anymore, but “knew” that his home and place with his family was real and lasting- you too can know that as well. I pray and hope you believe and know it too! Home with God doesn’t have to wait until you die and go to heaven, but already starts on this side of heaven with His Son, Jesus. BELONGing to God’s family – through faith in Jesus – also gives a bonus of instant brothers and sisters in Christ who God puts alongside the journey as family, friends and fellow encouragers.
In His grip and grace,
your “brother” Corey
PS: A Word from our Father about Him being our Father, especially if we are fatherless on earth, about Him loving us and also about Him having plenty of space for us in His Home!
Psalms 68:4-5 Sing to God, sing praise to his name, extol him who rides on the clouds—his name is the LORD— and rejoice before him. A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.
John 3:16-17 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
John 14:1-4 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
LIVE IT AND GIVE IT (Zug, Switzerland)- for August 2010