The Importance of Engaging New Faces

I'm at a yoga teacher training retreat this week, and it's the first time that Tony and I have spent a significant amount of time apart since we've been married. In honor of my dear husband, I wanted to share something he's taught me a lot about: the importance of engaging new faces.

You see, I'm an introvert; my best friends have been my best friends for more than a decade; and I come from a land where the phrase "blood runs thicker than water" is not only commonly spoken, but commonly believed. Tally up all of those truths about me, and what do you get? A person who doesn't see the intrinsic value in meeting new people and making new friends.

While on the World Race back in 2013, one of my teammates gave me this feedback: "I feel like you think you could do this trip on your own." In other words... "This is a team sport, and you're playing like an individual." 

I already had family and friends. I already had people who poured into my life. I already had people whom I was close to... and I didn't need more of them. That was my thought process, and in all honesty, I felt like I'd be borderline disloyal to my loved ones if I open-heartedly and deeply embraced anyone outside my tight-knit circle of family and friends. I also felt like venturing to depths with people I hardly knew would be exhausting to say the least. 

The problem? Well, I was missing out on a whole lot of goodness — on a whole lot of stuff that God wanted show and teach me through new faces.

Tony is unbelievable at making friends with strangers. He sees each person as a treasure chest of experiences and wisdom, and I love that he loves building relationships with those God places before of him.

This realization hit me like a ton of bricks while we were in Waco, Texas last week.

We'd just arrived at our host home and were chatting with the family when two young adults walked in the door — one lived in the guest room, and the other carried an egg and avocado sandwich. The one with the sandwich, Maddie, had just returned from a vision trip to Europe, where she traveled from Germany to Greece scouting places to send short-term, mid-term, and long-term missions teams to assist with the Syrian refugee crisis.

Maddie gathered on the porch with Katherine (the other young adult) and Marcie (the mother of the house) to share about what she saw in Europe. Since we'd driven from Baton Rouge to Waco that day, I opted to hit the hay.

A few days later, I was thinking about Tony and admiring how he takes advantage of every opportunity to make new friends and learn new things... and that's when it hit — the realization I mentioned earlier. Yes, I was tired. Yes, I wanted some time alone. Yes, I wanted to take a shower. But more importantly, when would I receive another opportunity to hear a testimony like Maddie's?

I haven't shamed or guilted myself, but I have taken note. It is important to engage new faces. It is important to build relationships with the people in front of you. It is important to turn on, tune in, listen, and learn. And so, I pray, "God expand my capacity for people. Awaken me to the opportunities that You purposefully drop into my days."

(Check out the video below of refugees arriving by boat in Greece. My friend Katherine posted in on Facebook a couple weeks ago, and I'm glad I stopped and watched. It's truly moving.)

The Rising Tide - Europe Refugee Crisis

You've probably seen footage on the news of refugees arriving in Greece by boat, but you've probably not seen anything like this. You've heard opinions about who they are or what they want, but you can see it firsthand in this video. These are the ones lying destitute on the road, and we must be the Good Samaritan. As team leader Dan Stephens shares, "We are the first faces they see when they land." It's our calling to show them the love of our Savior, and that is what many of you have helped us to do by your generous gifts. Learn, pray, and get involved here ▶

Posted by Samaritan's Purse on Wednesday, October 7, 2015