Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Conversation with My Dentist

This week, last December, Sheila and I were in Odessa, Ukraine finalizing all the details of adopting Karina.  It was such a joyous time and a blessing to get to know the other children hoping that a family would one day come for them.  We still pray for those children and look forward to seeing them again in a few weeks (we have space for you to join us on the trip - contact me if you want to help us minister to these precious children in January).
It is God's blessings on us and the fact that these children are still waiting in the orphanages and crying out for someone to care for them that compels us to tell their stories and ask people to care for them in their distress.
Yesterday I had an interesting conversation with my dentist.  My dentist has a small practice in a neighborhood in Jackson and I started going to him about 14 years ago because I lived next door to his office in a rough part of town (we regularly found drug paraphernalia tossed into our front yard).  I rented a house with four other men, most of us were seminary students, and the neighborhood was a great opportunity for us to put into practice what we learned in the classroom.  One of our windows faced the dentist office parking lot and we decided to set up a life size Luke Skywalker in the window to stare at anyone in the parking lot.  Later, my dentist told me he noticed that every time he went to his car, someone was staring at him.  After several days of wondering what was going on, he came up to the window and realized that, no, we were not as strange as he thought - we had not been spending all day, every day, staring at him.  It was just Luke.  Thus began a continuous stream of conversations with my dentist.
Yesterday he asked me to tell him something weird:  "All day people have been telling me the strangest things.  Weird things.  I wonder if you can top any of it."
I responded with, "I am not sure if you really want to hear some of the things I deal with."
We began a conversation that led him to asking how I was enjoying what I do now.
"I love what I am doing:  caring for orphans.... encouraging the church to reach out to orphans in mercy..."
He stopped.
He put his tools down.
He fixed his gaze on me.
Say that one more time.
"I love encouraging the church to reach out to orphans."
In shock he said, "Do you mean to tell me that you have to encourage Christians to do that?  To care for orphans?  I mean, the Bible... is it not plain about orphans and widows?  Isn't that what Christians should be known for... caring for orphans and widows?"

Before I left his office he told me, "Well, you won.  You told me the strangest thing I have heard all day."

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