Yesterday our house filled with family after the Good Friday service at church. The sun shone brilliantly and a fresh breeze blew through our hair as six grandchildren ran around the front yard hunting for Easter eggs hidden by Paul. We threatened to make him wear bunny ears to get into the spirit of the hunt, but he didn't cooperate.
Inside, the house was filled with the fragrance of a baking ham, and over the leisurely process of cooking of the rest of the meal; eating it, and relaxing with full tummies afterwards, we all had much news to catch up on.
Daughter-in-law Sue, and one of our three teenage granddaughters, Elizabeth, have just returned from a missions trip to Barbados with a team from our church. They went with a ministry named Seeds International which aims to plant the seeds of faith in the hearts of children. It was a trip full of "firsts:" first trip away together; first trip out of Canada; first missions trip and first separation as family. They had stories to tell; photos to show and video clips to share of the beautiful children of Barbados in their colourful and neatly pressed school uniforms, singing their hearts out and laughing with delight at the presentations of the team designed to convey the love of Jesus to precious young hearts and souls.
The story that grabbed my heart though, was not from the missions trip itself, but a 6 year old girl left behind at home with her dad and two older brothers; little Claire.
The parting at Lester B. Pearson airport in Toronto was hard for those not going and Claire clung tightly to her mommy, with tears. It was going to be 12 long days, as the team was staying for 3 extra days of sightseeing on the island once the missions trip was over. Sue tried to comfort Claire, saying that when you love someone deeply, you will feel sad when you're apart.
Pete did a great job, with the help of family and friends, of keeping the three remaining kids alive, and eventually the happy day came when he and the children went back to the airport to pick up Sue and Elizabeth.
There were happy faces, smiles, laughter, gifts, stories to tell and many, many hugs. And one little hand was slipped into Sue's and a small voice was heard to say, "Mommy, apparently I do love you deeply."