A Chilean Surprise

For months we have been planning to spend several weeks in Pittsburgh on our way north this summer.  Our oldest son, Jonathan, his wife Laura and their family live there.   We wanted to have some time to enjoy their company as well as with the many church friends we still have from our days serving at the Church of the Epiphany in Avalon, one of the north borough suburbs.  Some other special friends, Pastor Bill and Mary Venable from the Forest Avenue Presbyterian Church in Bellevue (another north borough suburb) had invited me to preach there on a special day, our 51st wedding anniversary, August 14th.  So, of course we advertised the big day, which was also their annual summer picnic.   Many folks from our past years in Pittsburgh came to greet us!  However, one person we were not expecting to see that day was a sweet young woman who was in our congregation in Chile fourteen years ago!  She and her husband, a young man from Johnstown, PA., whom she met in Chile (that is another story) had recently moved to another suburb of Pittsburgh.  She had heard about our coming from another “old friend in Chile” (the internet is such a great tool)!   When Janet saw Sandra in church last Sunday she was shocked and moved to tears because she was one of those girls that Janet had taken under her wing over the years like a daughter.  Since we never had a daughter these young women (spread across the globe) have become very special to both of us but especially to Janet. We met her husband, Nick, just briefly years ago before they were married and to see their happy faces last Sunday was a reminder of what heaven is going to be like!  To say we were “surprised” is an understatement!  Actually, we were “surprised by joy” (which was the title of a book by C.S.Lewis about his relationship with his wife Joy). During the picnic lunch we enjoyed catching up and planned another visit before we leave town!  We have to thank Rosa Sanchez in Chile for telling them where we were going to be and also thank Sandra for creating such a great “selfie”!