A couple months ago I reconnected with the father of one of my daughter, Miyah’s, classmates from preschool. He reminded me that he wanted to put me in touch with his sister who is the missions director at a very large church in one of the largest cities in the US.
Within a few days, he introduced me to his sister through LinkedIn. And since we are always looking to build on relational connections that could lead to a partnership with a church here in the US, I followed up by emailing her to introduce her to our work in La Limonada and to inquire about their partnerships with similar organizations.
A couple weeks later, I received an email response from her with an apology for the slow response with an explanation that she had recently returned from Africa and was way behind on email replies. She went on to explain how involved their church is in various places around the world and how important it is for them to have personal relationships with partner organizations. With that in mind, she said she was interested in learning more about our work at some point and beginning the process of exploring what type of partnership could develop over time.
Then she said something I will never forget. She said, “…we believe God works at the speed of friendship”.
Do you know those times when something hits you as very simple and yet very profound? This was one of those times for me. What she said is something I have believed for a long time, but I had never heard anyone put it quite like that.
I was reminded of some of the deep friendships depicted in the Scriptures: Ruth and Naomi, David and Jonathan, Elijah and Elisha, Jesus and John, Paul and Timothy. And I was reminded of some of the deepest friendships I have. They have all developed over several years. They have developed through long conversations, meals, sharing of personal stories, hopes, dreams and fears. The closest friendships I have are relationships that have weathered some storms (some that got pretty intense), but it’s those storms that have forged even deeper love and mutual respect.
The photo above is of me with my best friend, Darian Colbert, who I had them privilege of visiting La Limonada with in 2009. Our friendship is one that perfectly fits this description.
Then I thought of our friendship and partnership with Tita and the staff in La Limonada. We became friends in 2004 and we can say they are now some of our closest friends in the world. Those friendships have also included many long conversations, shared meals, prayers, laughter and tears.
I have witnessed God moving in and through those relationships. And as I look back over the years, I can truly see how…
“God moves at the speed of friendship”.
-Bill Cummings, Executive Director