Sunday, October 28, 2012

You've Got a Friend In Me ... Day 21

Dear Zae,

Thank you for giving me to your friend Miss Karyn. She told me when we were getting to know each other that you had thought we could be friends because I am a Friendosaurus and she needed a friend to go with her on her trip. At first I was scared, but then I thought, Everyone has to do scary things sometimes. God will be with me. And He was! I think I'll tell you all about it.

First of all, we went to the airport in Calgary. We got our tickets at the counter and then we had to go through security. Because I am so little, they just let me ride in Karyn's Dad's tray (she told me I could call her just Karyn).

Then we went down to our gate - C28. There was NOTHING to do at first except watch some kids playing. Then they stopped so I thought I would have a go. It was lots of fun!

Finally they called us to get on the plane. I had a seat all to myself! But then I got a little lonely so I asked Karyn if she would like to sit with me. She said OK.

We flew and flew for a long time. Then we got to the place. They said it was Chicago. We got off the plane and then we had to walk and walk. Fortunately they had these amazing moving sidewalks, so I hopped onto one of those. At first I was a bit scared, but then I thought, Everyone has to do scary things sometimes. God will be with me. And He was! 

There was a man who came and got us. He said his name was Pastor Shoaf. We got to ride in his car and he took us for supper and then to his house.

I was really tired by then. I just wanted some pink tea and a comfy bed. I got the tea, but then I didn't know where to sleep.

First Karyn said I could sleep with her. But she wasn't coming to bed right then and her bed seemed waaaaay too big for just me. So she asked me if I would like to sleep on the cushion which was on the little love seat. The love seat was so pretty, but the cushion made me think of how much Karyn's Mummy would have liked to have slept in this room, so that made me a little bit sad. I didn't know what to do exactly, because when you stay at someone else's home you have to be polite and sleep where people tell you. 

It was a good thing that Mrs Shoaf was there as well and she knew what to do. She had a bed just my size, and I had a GREAT sleep!

The next day I went with Mrs Shoaf and Karyn to Church. I couldn't believe we had to go to Church on Saturday! But then they explained to me that it was because a friend of Karyn's Dad, Philip, was going to be ordained. I didn't know what that meant, so they told me it meant that the Pastor and some of the leaders of the Church and pastors from other churches that believe the same things his church does have this special day in order to do what it says next (I got this out of Wikipedia, BTW):
  • recognize and confirm that an individual has been called by God to ministry,
  • acknowledge that the individual has gone through a period of discernment and training related to this call, and
  • authorize that individual to take on the office of ministry.
I don't really understand all of that, but what I do know is that they asked Philip some really, really hard questions and they were looking at sheets of paper that he had written. Mrs. Shoaf said that was his "doctrinal statement" which means that he wrote down what he believed about God and the Bible and other things. Some people really sounded stern when they were asking him questions. I felt scared for Philip, but then I thought, Everyone has to do scary things sometimes. God will be with him. And he was! And so were Pastor Shoaf and Karyn's Dad so I knew he would be okay.

Then came the good part. We went to a restaurant for lunch. It was a really nice restaurant and they had special menus for Philip's lunch. Karyn and I chose the chicken with mushrooms. Yummmmm!!!!!!

We went to the bathroom to wash our hands and I knew this would be a good, clean restaurant because of the sign.

Oh ya, something else, and that is that I met Philip's daughter. Her name is Natasha and she is 7 years old. She asked me to come to her house for supper.

After lunch we had to go to church AGAIN but this time everyone seemed really happy and we sang a song and then two men sang a song and then a few men got up to say a few words to Philip, about things that he should remember now that he is going to be a minister. One of them was Natasha's grandpa and one of them was Karyn's Dad. Karyn explained that this is one of the main reasons we had come to Bolingbrook, which is the town we came to from Chicago. Pastor Shoaf had asked Philip who he would like to have at his ordination and Philip had said Dr Ironside and that is Karyn's Dad so that is why we came.

Anyway, after all the men had finished speaking then Karyn's Dad spoke for about 33 minutes on the privileges and responsibilities of being called by God to be a minister. He talked about Jesus calling His disciples. The first thing they had to do was just be with Him. That would have been great, don't you think? Jesus loves kids. It wouldn't be scary, being with Jesus.

Then Pastor Shoaf called up four men. One was Karyn's Dad and one was Natasha's grandpa. Philip had to kneel down and each man had to put their hand on him and pray for him. They were all praying that God would bless Philip and his ministry, and that God would use him to help a lot of people come to know and love God and that Philip would stand true to God.

Then Pastor Shoaf prayed and then he got Philip to come on the stage and gave him his certificate.

Then the people went up to the front and hugged him and shook his hand.

That evening we went to Natasha's house and she showed me her room. It's a big room with a walk-in closet. They just moved into this house so she doesn't have a bed yet, and she gets to sleep on the floor just like camping!

On Sunday morning I went to Church early with Pastor Shoaf and Karyn and her Dad. They went to pray and Karyn went to the ladies' room. Just before she walked in she suddenly got a little pouty and told me that I couldn't come in with her - I was not "old enough." I had to sit on the water fountain and wait.

Church started soon after. They have two services in the morning and one in the evening. Everyone's super friendly at this Church. There was even a lady in a bright red beret who said hi to me and hugged me! The choir sang in the second service and it was so beautiful. I wish I could sing like that!

Then Pastor Shoaf called up Karyn's Dad to the stage so that he could preach. He said things like how they met in India in 1989 the first time and how Karyn's Dad had worked there for over 40 years (wow, he must be OLD!). Then they shook hands and Pastor Shoaf went and sat in the front row. You could tell they really liked each other a lot.

Karyn's Dad preached the message part of the service at all three times. The first time he preached about "The Saddest Song in the Bible." It came from Psalm 22, and those were the words that Jesus said when He hung on the cross, because SOMEONE had to be take the punishment for our sin or we would all die in our sin. That someone had to be completely without sin and Jesus was the only one. Can you imagine? Jesus was God's son and God had to watch while His son died so that all of us could have a way to come to God. (It seems to me like it was really God coming to us, though. He had to do all the work.) The thing is, God couldn't bear to watch as all of that sin came to rest on His son who had done nothing wrong. Jesus and God are one and had never been separated, EVER, by so much as a thought. But when Jesus hung on the cross he didn't feel the presence of His father's love and that's when he called out those sad words. I wonder if He was scared when He couldn't feel like God was with Him.

The second time he preached he talked about being sure not to miss "a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity." He talked about how Zechariah the priest and his wife, Elizabeth, couldn't have a baby. But then Zechariah was chosen  to offer incense in the holiest part of the temple, which was super rare to even be chosen because out of all the priests in his group of priests his name got drawn! This would only happen to someone once in his lifetime. And while he was in there, the angel of the Lord told him that he and Elizabeth would have a child. That child was John the Baptist, who told everybody that Jesus was coming!  Afterwards some people were crying and Pastor Shoaf went up to the pulpit and said, "I think there's some business that needs to be done with God this morning." And he also said that if you needed to talk to someone that you knew, if you need to tell someone you love them, do it today. (Karyn's Dad had said how he couldn't tell his wife any more that he loved her and he couldn't sing "Have I told you lately that I love you?" any more because she had died.)

After Church we took lots of pictures:
Karyn's Dad and Philip
Natasha's family and the Shoafs
and Ironsides. I must have
taken the picture because
I'm not in it!

Then the Shoafs and Karyn and her Dad went to the Olive Garden for lunch, but they forgot to take me. I wasn't very hungry anyway because I had a lot to think about from this morning.

Then after lunch the Shoafs and Karyn's Dad had a nap and Karyn and I sat in our chairs and she worked on the computer and we just talked. I was kind of sleepy and I think I might have had a tiny nap. I'm not sure.

Anyway, after nap time we got ready for Church again. When we drove up to the Church guess what? There was a sign to say welcome to Karyn's Dad! It had been there the whole time but Karyn and I saw it only on Sunday evening.

Here's something unbelievable. Pastor Jack, who helps Pastor Shoaf, showed me something that he had found not long ago. It was a receipt for his grandfather's salary as a pastor. Can you believe it? It's probably less than your allowance, if you get one!!

That night Karyn's Dad spoke about where God's blessings come from and how God works. In the story we looked at, everything that happened to bring food to the starving, desperate people happened in the night, when no one was expecting it! It was an amazing story. I wanted to read it again so I asked Karyn where it was found and she said in the Old Testament, in the book called 2 Kings and the end of chapter 6 but mainly chapter 7. After Church lots of people wanted Karyn's Dad to sign their Bibles. But there was one boy who was a little smaller than Asher, so about 11 I think, who was just standing there watching everybody but mainly Karyn's Dad. Finally he came up and stood in front of Karyn's Dad and shook his hand. "I just want to shake your hand and say I love you," he said to Karyn's Dad. Then he just slipped away. He had on a shirt that was the same colour as me. I thought he was the coolest of all the people who came up. I wondered if he was scared, because he took so long to actually walk up to Karyn's Dad. Then I thought, Everyone has to do scary things sometimes. God was with him. 

Then we went home and had tea and chocolate cake. My favourite!! After that Mrs Shoaf and I went to our beds and Pastor Shoaf, Karyn and her Dad started to read over the Statement of Faith for the Church. They stayed up till past 4 in the morning! But they seemed like they were having a good time.

 On Monday morning we had breakfast together at the Shoafs' home and then we started to pack. 

We had been invited for one last time to Natasha's house for lunch. But I was so sad to hear that Natasha had had to go to school. I was hoping I could play with her while the grown-ups talked and talked.  Her mommy said that she was sooooooo upset that she had to go to school that day and couldn't see us. Karyn and I wondered what we could do to make her happier. Both of us thought of it at the same time. Maybe I could stay when Karyn and her Dad go back to Canada! I was a little bit scared but then I thought, I've done other scary things on this holiday and God has been with me the whole time. So I wrote a letter to Natasha asking her if I could stay with her and be her friend. I didn't think you would mind because Natasha moved from Chicago to Bolingbrook just two weeks ago and I think she really needs a friend. (And Karyn's a bit boring anyway!) Natasha's mommy and grandma said they would love to have me stay with them. 

So that's what I did on my vacation. Thank you for sending me. Before we left Canada Karyn's Dad prayed that we would be a blessing to people in the town. And now all of us were!!!

I will miss you, because you were my first friend. But I hope you will understand because you know what it's like to have a friend and to be a friend.

I have sent a little tiny present back for you from Chicago with Karyn. I will not forget you and I hope you won't forget me.

Lots of love,

Shari Friendosaurus


  1. I read the Letter to Zae. To which she was so quiet and attentive. Right away at the 'sign off' her exuberant comment was: "aww of course Shari is soo nice, she got a present for me!" Thank you dear ((friends)) for your words.

  2. That was a tale well told! I love the children in it the most ... the two girls, one here and one there, the loving 11 year old boy ... and the one who is 80 and ... well, the youngster who could use that washroom.


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