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Surfacing Fellowship


As they work their way through elementary school and often on into the next phases of schooling, children are drawn to the concept of having a best friend. I was. Yes, other friends were important, but the most crucial relationship was that of the best friend. Who was he or she? Was I their best friend as well? On a bad day, did our feelings of best-friend-ness plunge? Did we say emphatically and with strong conviction “You’re not my best friend anymore!”? Having moved more than once before reaching Junior High, I went through a few best friends: Sarah in Fruitvale, Sophia in Abbotsford, Stephanie in Parksville, then Jennifer in Port Alberni. My next school was a move to Victoria right before I turned thirteen and the place wrung out of me any fanciful ideas of finding true friendship. It just wasn’t there. The school was filled with cliques and politics when it came to who would be friends with who. I was glad to be out of there and on to Mexico less than a year and a half later. Many good friendships were made in Mexico and I felt hope for comradery after my harrowing last year in Canada.
Fellowship with those who share common interests, backgrounds, ideas, and/or beliefs are so essential for human beings. It brings life. For a short period (maybe a few days) while in college I decided that I wouldn’t need anyone. I was tired of the uncertainty of my current friendships so I was going to go solo. Like I said, a few days later I realized how foolish that would be—actually, come to think of it, the decision may have only lasted overnight. Fellowship is simply essential.
There have been times in my life where I have been without very much fellowship by no choice of my own. Circumstances have brought it about and while the isolation lasts, it weighs heavy. One of those times was the first bit of time in Italy. I went there with a girl I hardly knew and was not too interested in knowing as she was so different than myself. We were in a new culture and immersed in a language we didn’t know; we were also the only N. Americans in the town we lived in. Circumstances were pushing us together. I eventually saw my foolishness and am now very close to this person. Our problems and difficulties didn’t go away, but it was so much more bearable to go through them with a friend.
India has been another time of isolation from fellowship. Circumstances here are different than Italy as well as having a little one keeps me closer to home. But relief does eventually come. In the past month I have been abundantly blessed with fellowship with fellow believers who also happen to be fellow Americans and Canadians: conversations over good food, shopping, sharing life and challenges together, it really can make all the difference in the world.

Sunday Dinner After a Sunday meal of KFC—yes, they have it here! L-R: Steve & Vicky Simpson, The Clancy three, Jayne & Dean Gilge, Justin & Coral Sheppard. Photo compliments of Jayne Gilge’s Xanga site

The couple from Canada (Steve and Vicky Simpson) have been missionaries for most of their married life and have been in Hyderabad working with the the literacy wing of Wycliffe Bible Translaters for a year. Though we usually see them only once a week they’ve developed a sort of serrogate grandparent relationship with Aria as they themselves are missing there own little grandchildren.
Another younger couple closer to our own age (Justin and Coral Sheppard), we’ve only just met, but look forward to getting to know them more. Justin works in one of the many foreign companies here.
Then there is a couple from Wisconsin, Dean and Jayne Gilge, who live only a block and a half from us! Dean works in agriculture here in India—with the cows specifically. We had them here for dinner last week—chicken parmesean—-and enjoyed being in their company.
God gives grace for those times of solitude, but he also delights to bless us with fellowship and I praise him for this with a grateful heart.

2 Responses to “Surfacing Fellowship”

  1. Rebeca
    July 24th, 2006 16:12

    Yes, it does seem like fellowship is something we all yearn for yet it can feel easier to give up hope of finding it then press on. But it’s what we’re made for isn’t it? We’re part of a body, we’re connected mystically with one another and we need to put flesh, so to speak, on our connection. And when we do it’s sweet and blessed.
    I’m glad you’re finding some body life there.

  2. Rachel
    August 7th, 2006 10:15

    Thank you…it’s wonderful indeed!

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