Four vehicles full of people from our new church drove 4 hours Saturday morning to come get us and our things, loaded up our stuff in trailers, trucks and vans all day, then drove with us 4 hours back to Illinois. They had a yummy home-cooked dinner waiting when we got to town, so we could all recharge before unloading the truck late into the night. We actually had fun and they seemed glad to do it all.
They had cleaned and scrubbed and fixed up our new house until it sparkled and gleamed. They had filled the fridge and cupboards with groceries, put up new shower curtains and bath mats, set out kleenex, hand soap, toilet paper, you name it. We were hooked up right from the start. The message was loud and clear: “we want you here!”
We could tell they had spent hours before we came preparing and planning for our arrival and it made us feel so special and at home.
Today, John and I tried out the local Qdoba and were treated so warmly. That may sound funny, but it really was an exceptionally welcoming, smiling crew who looked like they were having fun and enjoyed their work. It made us want to go back, and soon.
There’s a lot to be said about making an intentional effort to welcome someone. If we would open up our hearts and arms in churches and put that much effort into preparing for and welcoming people who are new and may have never gone to church before we’d probably see a lot of them come back because they felt as if we really meant it: we want them there with us. They would feel welcome.
(I have to also give a shout out to the lovely friends from our old church who were able to come help on Saturday with our move, too. We love you!)