We have a family. They live in Lubbock and Dallas and Mississippi and Haiti and other nooks and crannies on planet earth.
Many of them also live in Guatemala.
They are the folks other people used to call the CAM family. The folks who welcomed us and helped us but were still - foreign.
See, having a family is one thing. Being a part of one is something else altogether.
And now after living here for most of a year as members of CAM we have met a few of the missionaries, many of whom have lived here for generations. They have come and shared a meal at our home. Some have been able to stay here for a night or two. I give them overly detailed directions and talk too much about the history of our town. We watch the clock and anticipate their arrival. When the get here we hug and laugh and they play with our children and want our kids to call them, "Uncle" or "Grandma" or fill in your family moniker.
They want us.
They love us.
For no other reason than that we are.
And we need them. Because life is so very, very hard all by yourself. Because life was meant to be lived within a family - and there is a family open to all. The Family of God. All of us who can by faith in Christ call ourselves children of God are part of this enormous, wonderful family. A family with black sheep and crummy holidays and overstayed welcomes. A family where age and race and history draw us together instead of apart. A family where we are all being transformed into the same Image. A family with which we will know and love and share eternity.
And we need to work on living like we'll know each other forever. Because we're not all perfect. As a matter of fact, we're all still pretty faulty. We get tired and frustrated and just plain mean. We forget that divisions grieve our Father and we refuse to come together before Him and ask Him to help us get along. I see it in the Guatemalan church where so many fractures and factions make the Body of Christ look more like Frankensteins monster before he got all sewn together. I see it in the missionary body where 'my ministry' becomes more important than my family. I see it in the US where we let our churches become a fortress instead of a hospital; with cliques like marbles in a jar - stuck in the same glass but never sharing life.
But we have a family.
With the same Father. The same Only Begotten who is our brother. The same Spirit who gives us power and life to be what we are: