I recently returned from a mission trip. It was five of our youth and four adults traveling to West Virginia to help do some home repair projects. Our youth have participated annually for a while, but this was my first opportunity to go. One of the best parts of the trip was the opportunity to talk with the youth – to work side by side with them and hear their stories. And I got to tell mine.
Nobody expected the pastor to be very skilled at construction and home repairs, but they soon realized I could do a few things! And there is a good reason for this.
When I was young, we had little money (and truthfully, little has changed!). We could not afford to have experts come in and repair things, we did not have money for plumbers or electricians. But we did have Uncle Bill. Uncle Bill was married to my father’s sister, and he was the ultimate handyman. Uncle Bill worked on aircraft during WWII, and held maintenance positions afterwards. Uncle Bill would come over to fix the drain, replace a part on the dryer, or get the car to start. And I would watch.
I learned how do to many things around the house that has helped us over the years (and saved us some money as well). During the mission trip I truly began to appreciate Uncle Bill’s guidance.
But my dad also made an “appearance” during the trip. I had the chance to tell some “dad” stories and jokes, and even his corny magic trick with a quarter.
This is part of the cloud of witnesses – those who came before us, who influenced us, who brought us up. Uncle Bill’s influence gave me the skills necessary to help those in need. Dad’s influence helped me to entertain our group. Both are very much a part of who I am.
Who are in your cloud? Who influenced you, taught you, mentored you? Take a moment to give God thanks and praise for them.