A few months back I decided to replace my well-worn backpack. I did a ridiculous amount of research on the matter and settled on a backpack that was of good quality and would easily double as a carry-on. Fast-forward to a couple of weeks ago and there I am with my new backpack waiting to board a plane to Belize.
As we were sitting at the gate a gentleman sitting across from me looked at my backpack, looked at me and said, “Osprey, they are just across the way from where I live.”
I assumed he was speaking of the vendor or manufacturer of my backpack.
“That’s nice,” I responded. “I am quite pleased with this backpack.”
He looked at me again and said, “No, I have an osprey nest just off my property in San Pedro.”
“Oh,” I said, finally understanding. He was talking about the bird!
The gentlemen went on to share his story of how he and his wife had recently retired to the beautiful island of San Pedro in Belize. He showed me pictures of his bike that he loves to ride all over the island and happy to talk about the island he now calls home. I asked him about local restaurants and he mentioned his favourites. I asked him about churches and he said, “I don’t really know but I think there is a Catholic church in town.” We talked some more and then said our goodbyes as we got up to board the plane. It was a lovely encounter. “Keep an eye out for me and my yellow bike,” he called out.
“I will!” I said with a smile.
Very early on Sunday morning Brian headed out on a boat to go scuba diving. It was a beautiful morning in paradise. It would have been easier for me just stay at the gorgeous resort and listen to a podcast but my spirit was urging me to go to church. So, after a little Goggling, I got into a cab and made my way to church.
I arrived a bit early, so I found myself a place near the back and settled in. As I sat alone, feeling rather awkward waiting for the service begin, a member of the praise team stopped by to welcome me. Turns out it was the pastor’s wife who in less then five minutes managed to give me the rich history of this new and growing church.
The service began with worship songs that were surprisingly familiar. As the first song finished the sanctuary had filled with people of all ages and colours. By the time the three-song set was complete the place was packed. As I looked across the aisle, who did I see but the gentleman from the airport with the Osprey!
We connected after the service. As he introduced me to his wife he said, “This is the girl with the backpack.”
Two things amazed me about his introduction. First, that he told his wife about our exchange in the airport and secondly, that he called me “girl”. I felt so young ;)
It turns out that this was his first time in that church. His wife had been attending on her own for some time and on this particular morning he, for whatever reason, decided to join her.
What were the chances?
Brian and I connected with them again later that week and it was wonderful! Imagine, a friendship was formed over a backpack or maybe something more?
There really are no coincidences. I believe that the hand of God was at work — the urging of the Holy Spirit that both my Osprey friend and I responded to that morning. So cool!
Proverbs 16:4 says: the Lord works out everything to its proper end.
And Isaiah 46:9-11 says: Remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’ calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of my counsel from a far country. I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it.
There is a lot happening at Amberlea, I do hope you will plan on joining us!
Mike Gordon will be preaching this coming Sunday, April 29th
DR. TONY CAMPOLO, world renowned author, speaker, Spiritual advisor to Bill Clinton and evangelist will be preaching at Amberlea on Sunday, May 6th! Yes, you read it right, Tony Campolo!
Please come and as always, invite your friends.