Sunday, May 06, 2007

A horrible week

Had a good day at church on Monday, including a team meeting at my house, which is always nice, and then Tuesday was a national holiday, and the girls had to go to school, so Felicity and I took the day off, packed a picnic and headed out to Wadi Digla for a walk and some time together.

It was just wonderful, and we talked through some of the stuff that's been on our minds and just reconnected. If there had been daisies there then we would have been skipping through them.

I think it was God's way of preparing us for what was to come.

At about 5pm we got on a bus with some of the other church staff as we were all being treated to a river cruise by one of our church cell groups. We'd been on the boat about twenty minutes when someone got a phone-call from "Susan" to say that "John" was late coming home and had anyone seen him? So we asked around, and the last anyone had seen of him had been at about 11am. He never showed up for cell group - totally out of character, and he hadn't let anyone know where he was going. "John" is a staff member at church, and a very good friend of everyone on the boat.

So the rest of the boat trip was spent worrying, and praying and making phone calls, all the while trying to enjoy the beautiful weather, and the fantastic Nile scenery, not to mention the food and drink.

We organised people to search the church grounds, to walk around his neighbourhood, others were scouring the streets in their cars, the police were contacted, people were phoning around hospitals etc. Prayer bulletins were being texted and emailed and everyone was on red alert. We went to bed late with no news, and I don't think anyone slept well that night.

The next day dawned with no news, and we had that same desperate ache inside that we had when Pastor Dave died eight months ago. We spent the day having meetings and waiting for news, not knowing whether to change the weekend service plans in case he had died and we would need to do a memorial service. It was a horrible day.

For some reason on Thursday, we didn't feel such a dread and foreboding. Maybe no news is good news, maybe God was hearing our pain and comforting us. Whatever, by then we were pretty sure he hadn't been in an accident, or wasn't lying in a hospital, or worse, a morgue. Had he been kidnapped? Not "John". Too big and strong and loud. You'd never take him quietly.

We got through the weekend services by plain old trust and faith in God. He was our rock, our shield, our defender, our sustainer, our comforter.

Then, Friday afternoon, He texted "Susan". No info, no clues as to whereabouts, but at least it was contact, and he's alive. Praise God!!!!

Yesterday (Saturday) evening he texted me and some others. Felicity and I were watching a film, and when I got the text, all the emotions I'd been holding back came flooding out, and I bawled for a good while. Relief, anger, pain, grief, fear, uncertainty, all mingled together.

We still only know that he's in Europe, that he's planning to come back soon and that he's sorry for all the pain this has caused.

Please pray for "John", that he would have the courage to return and be reunited with his family, and that we can help him through these next few weeks. Please also pray for "Susan" and the kids, and that as a family they can work through this whole situation to a good conclusion.

Watch this space for more news as we get it...

3 comments:

marcel said...

thanks mark, I appreciate you keeping us up to date about "John", especially since I'm this far away... God bless you!

Rumblings said...

We were praying for "John" Thursday night.

Say hi to Felicity. Rosemary

TPF said...

XXxxxx Tobes, Hez and Grace