Saturday, August 03, 2013

A Kindness Done, but not Forgotten (Peter Black)

Oops! I missed posting on my appointed date last week, so I'm squeezing in the following piece (a true story) for the August holiday weekend. It's adapted from my column of a couple of weeks ago, and will likely be included in my next book-- a collection of those articles.
It was quite late that night when Norman was called to the police station. Someone had suggested to the attending officer that he call a Mr. Clarke—my brother-in-law Norman.
He was ushered into a room where, huddled in a corner, cold and shivering from a soaking in the rain, was a young black man. His dark eyes couldn’t conceal his fear and uncertainty. He was alone, a stranger in a foreign country and an unfamiliar culture.
This occurred many years ago in Oxford, England. Norman wasn’t a social worker, but a chef in a university college . . . and a caring man. The young fellow had arrived from Africa, to study at the university, but knew no-one. Although his fare and tuition were sponsored, no other resources were provided; no food nor money, and nowhere to stay.
The officer released Daniel into Norman’s care, who took him to his home. After a warm meal and a bath, the youngster stepped into some dry clothes and slept in a warm bed. Thus began a new relationship, an extended stay and a new beginning. He soon began referring to Norman and my sister Chris as "Uncle" and "Aunty." 
Their church congregation welcomed him warmly – it was a virtual United Nations (like the couple’s home!), with attendees representing various ethnicities and many countries of the world.
Some years after Daniel’s studies were completed and he was back in Africa, I was in the UK for my mother’s funeral /memorial. One night during my stay he telephoned from Africa to thank Chris and Norman for what they’d done and the love they’d shown. He was now in business and employing people. That was over nine years ago. It was welcome news, and decent of him to call.
Several years ago Norman and Chris returned to Scotland to live, and recently received another call from Daniel. He’s now married and is currently visiting the UK with his wife and three children, introducing them (uhh, "showing them off") to some of the friends he made there – especially to “Uncle and Aunty.” Currently, he’s  a banker in Nairobi, Kenya, and gives thanks to God for all that they did for him when he had nothing and didn’t know what to do.
And so, a week or so ago Daniel and family should have left Chris and Norman’s place to head back to England, before flying home to Nairobi.
I’m reminded of friends who welcomed us like family when we first came to Canada. Some became like grandmas and grandpas to our kids. They included us in their circle of love and made an investment in our lives. Whatever good may have been done in the places where we lived and served as pastors was in part due to their kindness.
And yet, kindness has continued to follow us, for during our time in Guide Country [an epithet for the readership of the newspaper], others of you also extended friendship and invested kindness in our lives, and therefore assisted us in fulfilling our calling.
We may never know this side of heaven how far a kind word spoken, a warm welcome given or a kindness done in Jesus’ name with love in our hearts, can go, when God blesses it. He will reward.
Jesus said, “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” Also, “. . . your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 25:40; 6:3-4).
Thank you! Many of you have been kind to us.


Adapted from original article published in P-Pep! column in The Guide-Advocate – July 25, 2013. His articles have appeared in 50 Plus Contact and testimony, and several newspapers in Ontario.

Peter A. Black is a freelance writer in Southwestern Ontario, and is author of “Parables from the Pond” – a children's / family book (mildly educational, inspirational in orientation, character reinforcing).
(Finalist -- Word Alive Press ISBN 1897373-21-X )




Violet N. said...

Lovely story, Peter. Those ripples of kindness will probably never stop spreading.

Laura J. Davis said...

Great story Peter, thank you for sharing!

Peter Black said...

Thanks Violet and Laura.
The couple have a virtual addiction to hospitality and serving in the name of the Lord, even though they now experience serious health challenges.
(Cp. Paul's commendation in 1 Corinthians 16:15 esp. KJV):)

Glynis said...

Such a lovely story that I can well relate to, Peter. If only the world had such tender compassionate hearts and your gracious would be as heaven~!

P.S. We lived in Oxford when I was a wee lass!

Peter Black said...

. . . it would be as heaven~!
So true, Glynis.

Hmm. So we have not only Scotland, Canada and England in common, but also Oxford too (although Ox. was never my place of residence per se)! :)

Carolyn R. Wilker said...

Thank you for sharing that story of hospitality and endearing friendship. I can imagine you doing the same, Peter.

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