Although many people had expressed an interest in going with us, in the final analysis, there were only six on the team, but as Alan commented when we left, “A trip with Paul and Silas…Does it get any better than that?”
Yes, there really were a Paul and a Silas! There was also a Mason, who oversees the young adult ministries at Calvary and led the team. I called him “Fearless Leader” because he reminded me so much of my son Michael and is a perfect blend of playfulness and passionate love for God. Paul and Shannon are married, but because there were 4 guys and 2 girls, Shannon and I roomed together. Paul is a Christian businessman and Shannon is a cardiac intensive care nurse at the Meijer Heart Clinic here in GR. I liked to call Shannon “Nurse Nelly” because she tried to keep us all well, but she’s also a marathoner and would get up as early as 4:30 am to run. Yep. Even in Tunisia. (That’s a loaf of French bread, and it was as yummy as it looks.) Silas and Zach are room mates and both studying for the ministry. Silas is the 6th-born in a family of 9 home-schooled kids, so he and I had an instant bond, and he helped me with luggage, looking after me faithfully, like our Shepherd. If you catch him at the right angle, Silas looks strikingly like Jesus, which more than a few people noticed. Zach’s last name is Schmuck, so you can imagine he doesn’t need any nickname. In fact, at the church they’ve been known to advertize events by saying,
“You won’t be the only schmuck there!” However, the kids did sometimes call Zach “Shoo Shoo” (French for “Teacher’s Pet”) because he was always super warm, friendly, and interested in listening and learning from our mentors…so of course everybody loved him instantly! And then there was me—old enough to be everyone else’s mom—so I almost felt like the Lord had blessed me with a second family. Although, by the end of the trip, after all the intensive experiences of learning, serving, working, praying and playing, we had bonded in a way that really transcended physical realities and left me with a distinct sense of brotherhood and unity in the Spirit.
And, I really don’t think it gets any better than that! 🙂“And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me” (John 17:22-23).
(P.S.—You might have noticed 2 extras in the last 2 pictures. They are Roy N. and his daughter Katrina, who joined us in Tunisia. I’ll tell you more about them soon, Lord willing.)