Saturday, November 9, 2013

Day 34

Day 34
Yesterday was quite the day in our home: the weather was dreary – rain, a truly November BC downpour! 
We had approached the Abbotsford Police Department about how we might generate greater public awareness of Erica's disappearance, especially since it’s now been over a month and her trail has again gone cold.
So our detective set up a press conference and invited all the Lower Mainland media: TV, radio and newspapers to gather at our house to both recap what has happened during this month and keep her face and story in the public eye.
The police originally intended to stage the event on our front doorstep, but because it was raining so hard, we had to move everybody inside to our living room.
11am: police cruisers + media vehicles lined our street outside + inside our usually quiet front room suddenly filled with a buzz of activity: 3 massive TV cameras, a microphone stand with all sorts of mics advertising station logos (just like you see on the real news!), and a dozen reporters, all under a powerful arc-lamp flooding the whole room.
Our family stepped up to the mics: Michael recapped the month’s details;
Amy thanked everyone: the police, Search + Rescue + all who have prayed, volunteered their time, gifts + help for us in so many ways – posting flyers, cooking meals, encouraging words + actions.
Sophia appealed to anyone who might have sighted our Mom to please contact the police and then directly + emotionally spoke to her mom, if somehow she might even be watching, to please come home! I followed by summing up how much we all miss Erica and want her home with us soon.
We need our family back together again: my wife, their mom + Grandma!
All this took place against the backdrop of a print of Rembrandt’s  ‘Return of the Prodigal Son’ directly behind us, above the fireplace, highlighted in the glare of the extra lighting. The reproduction had been my 65th birthday present from the family only last spring. Erica had wanted to buy me a dishwasher (Imagine, a dishwasher for my 65th?!  – so utilitarian!... but she did get her dishwasher later anyway!)  While setting up, the press had decided on this as their desired perspective and so this painting + its message was constantly on view during the entire event!
Little did we realize how the Lord would use this painting in our living room to bring out His heart.
The Father is drawing prodigals home! Those who have lost everything the world has to offer, spent their lives and come up empty, come to the end of themselves + simply need to know they have a Father who loves them! 
Amy especially took the opportunity and drew the parallel between the prodigal of the painting coming home + her mom + called Erica home right on the newscast!
Our home has previously been a House Church and we’ve had lots of meetings about the Father’s Heart, but never before had this pertinent message had such a public opportunity + potentially vast audience! 
We also got to tell Erica’s story: how she’s taken on being part of the solution for pain in our world today, helping bring healing in Africa to the UJV - Uganda Jesus Village: former orphan/victim/child soldiers from Kony’s rebel army, but now sons + daughters in Christ’s. In each of the last 4 years, she has spearheaded packing up to 15 suitcases of everything from underwear to school supplies for these needy kids. This year, she’s already packed 3 suitcases for a trip we’re planning for January.
So, in the midst of our pain, the message came through, the media picked it up + God is using all this to get His message out His Way. 
Jesus-followers have vision beyond bad news, despair, or even ourselves.
As if in confirmation, the police testified they’ve not seen such an overwhelming outpouring to a missing person case in all their collective years of service!
The Gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ, always turns prodigal hearts home to the Father’s embrace!

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