Matt and Kate Thompson, friends from our church, West London Alliance in London, came to visit with us in Kuala Lumpur over the last few days. To say that we were excited to have them here doesn’t do justice to the occasion. Pam and I were like puppies who had been adopted. Really? You want to visit with us in KL? Really?
We laid out the royal carpet and got out the fine china. Well, okay, we have no fine china and carpets don’t make any sense at all in this climate. But metaphorically speaking, we did our best to make our guests feel welcome. For their part Matt and Kate were happy to be shown around town and game to jump through all the typical tourist hoops of seeing the Twin Towers and shopping in Chinatown. Rather unusually, Matt chose not to stock up on Rolex watches and Kate seemed to have no appetite for cut-rate Gucci handbags. But they did just come from Cambodia whose prices make Malaysia’s seem positively outrageous, so their reticence was perhaps understandable.
We climbed all 300 steps to the Batu Caves, and since the cable car was down for repairs, drove all the way to the top of Genting Highlands, Pam’s terror greatly modified by the fact that she couldn’t see anything of the road ahead through Matt’s head. Once at the top we had a lovely buffet meal which we didn’t rush through, and even took the time for a brief look at the Sunway Mall, all lit up in honour of Ramadan. They all got way too much sun lounging around the pool (while I ran around in panic mode at work) and slept comfortably in the guest bedroom (to which you, gentle reader, are also invited), having exhausted themselves in the service of the Lord at English camp in Cambodia.
All of this is pretty standard fare when you go to visit a foreign country which you are unlikely to see again. What was not standard fare, and very much appreciated, was the lovely long conversations about ministry and missionary service. This is all we have been doing for the last seven years, and we get very little chance to share what the Lord has been teaching us, where He has called us to minister, with the church He has called us to fellowship with. It is a strange disconnect, and one that cannot easily be overcome. They also brought with them the gift of cards and notes from the congregation; a gift of immeasurable value. We intend to open only one a day and pray for each one who was kind enough to write and encourage us.
We see in Matt and Kate a couple much like us; hearing God’s call to serve in what for many seems like an unusual way, not sure what it means for them professionally or personally, but willing to walk the road the Lord has marked out for them to journey along. We know from personal experience that this road is often lined with loneliness, loss and misunderstanding. But it is also a road of great wonder and joy as you watch God blaze a trail through an unknown difficulties with grace and kindness. Some of that grace and kindness came to us this week in the form of Matt and Kate, messengers of God’s love to us, and a reminder that His people have not forgotten us. We are humbled and blessed, and very, very grateful.