When Foreigners Become Family


The lights had been dimmed, and delicious aromas filled the air as unsuspecting guests entered the house. I could hear small gasps and expressions of delight! Wow, look at this place! Where is the furniture?

They were not expecting this.

I smiled with quiet pleasure as, one by one, these precious people entered my home. It’s the time of year to say “Thank You” to our amazing team of worship leaders for their tireless service this past year. We normally celebrate end-of-the-season success with a potluck, or a bring’n braai (or whatever other name you choose). But this year, two of our ‘Creative Divas’ decided to BLESS this team with more than just food… they were going to throw us a

Moroccan dining experience!

So the traditional furniture was moved out in exchange for carpets, pillows, and low pallets for tables. Fairy lights were strung through the pallets, and the décor consisted of palm fronds, green plants, and countless candles. Together, it all served to create a surreal glow in the room.

The ambiance called each of us to our places, and although my body wasn’t quite used to sitting on the floor, the beauty around me wouldn’t let me leave. I was among friends, colleagues, partners, team members. Twenty-five skilled and faithful worshippers were about to be celebrated.

For the next three hours, we indulged in food, music, and laughter. The divas had arranged amazing sponsors to purchase and prepare the food; generous souls who also wanted to say Thank You. Lamb, chicken, fish, potatoes, cheeses, bread, salads, you name it. The platters were full, and so were our stomachs.

But the night wouldn’t have been complete without the giving of ‘Bouquets of Words’ to the people in that room. These weren’t just random people―they were people with whom we labour and serve, week in and week out, all year long. Worship leaders, singers, musicians, media experts, sound experts; all leaders of excellence in their own right.

This was our opportunity to publically honour each of them for how they’ve grown and for the value they bring. One by one, we took turns speaking life to each other. The encouragement was sincere, thoughtful, and even surprising at times. You really think that about me? There was more than one pleasantly surprised face in the room.

The hours passed quickly… our tummies and souls were deeply satisfied.

And I realized something. In two months’ time, we’ll be celebrating our 10 year anniversary of living in South Africa. And although we’ve lived for a long time as ‘foreigners’ in this nation, we don’t really feel like strangers anymore. These precious people have grown under-our-skin and into-our-hearts.

It was then that I realized afresh that this group of people has become so much more than just a worship team…

They have become family!

How precious it is when foreigners become FAMILY. Click To Tweet


Linking up today over at Jennifer Dukes Lee and #TellHisStory

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