christmas gifts

I didn't mention yet that it looks like we will be having another retreat in February. One of the pastors we have been talking with suggested that we do a mid-week retreat for people (like pastors) who can't come on weekends. So now she and another pastor friend we know from Chicago are planning to come in late February. Maybe we can get a few others to come as well. Like the retreat we are doing in January, this would be an introduction to our retreats here, for people who work with the poor and are interested in referring some of the people they serve to us for retreats in the future. We're very happy there are a few more willing to work with us.

And yesterday I heard back from a dentist in town who offered to give Heather and me a cleaning and checkup, with x-rays, for free. I had written to him after hearing he attends a neighboring church. (It's been years since either of us have seen a dentist, due to the cost.) We had been hoping that we could keep our financial needs lower by building relationships with doctors who liked what we are trying to do here, and who were willing to provide some support by their personal care. A dream of how the world might work if everyone focused on giving freely to others in need. In this case, I thought it was pretty unlikely that we would even get a response, so we were bowled over when the response was so generous. It definitely feels like the care of God.

The other Christmas gift came the day before that, when a woman from our church asked if we could host her friend for Christmas week. He had been struggling in Florida and she had offered to bring him back home here, to live with her for a while, but she already had many guests for Christmas. We were very impressed to hear what she is doing. So, wanting to support her, and glad for a guest for the holiday, we agreed. They came with her kids for dinner last night, and we had a really good time. I get a little intimidated by social gatherings with people I don't know, but they were all fun to be with, and I'm glad to get to know them better.