Thursday, August 19, 2010

Springing Up...

Before I left Fort Wayne, my friend Jayne was excited to discover a mysterious vine growing in her garden. She researched it and realized it was a watermelon vine. This morning I got this report via email from her:

"My watermelon plant is growing a foot everyday. I now have 4 baby watermelons the size of my thumb. I'm so excited to watch it grow. I hope and pray none of the youth tomorrow night step on it by accident. I'll have to road block it off to make sure they don't. It's growing out onto the pavement, almost reaching the swimming pool. It wants to drink from the pool and go swimming, but I told it that it can't."

The ironic thing about this amazing watermelon vine is that it was the one thing that wasn't planted on purpose this summer... Jayne let all the kids in children's club plant flower seeds in little pots, and prayed that they would grow and be an encouraging symbol of the seed of God's word growing in their hearts. But the flower seeds didn't grow. They barely even sprouted. Jayne even tried to re-plant new seeds, and was very diligent about caring for them, but they did not respond to any amount of love. So it's hard to not get discouraged, not question if it was a symbol of the fruitlessness of the ministry. Surely God did something with all the effort of the staff and volunteers who poured into and prayed over those children!

Maybe the watermelon vine isn't just a product of casual, random sowing... afterall, God made a vine grow as a sign for Jonah, didn't he? And so many of Jesus' parables about the kingdom of God are analogies of plants springing up. I think the vine in Jayne's yard is a sign from God for her not to be discouraged. God will use and bless our loving service, even if it isn't in the way we expected.

I tried to write a "real" poem that rhymed, but all I could come up with were haiku. However, I figure the haiku was meant to express lessons from nature, so I think it works in this case:

Tiny seeds planted
With love, care, and lots of hope
For beauty and joy.

But sprouts do not grow,
No response is apparent,
No life found in pots.

What's that over there?
It's sprawling down the sidewalk -
Leaves, flowers, and fruit!

Watermelon vines,
Springing unexpectedly -
Seeds not sown in vain.

For now we see that
While we hoped for potted blooms
God had bigger plans:

Flowers would grow up
Beautiful, but then wither
Away and die soon;

But watermelons
Feed, refresh, and multiply,
Sowing seeds again

May your ministry
Sprawl and grow and reproduce
In those you love, Jayne.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Canada in three days!

We are now back home from our lovely trip to Cambridge, Ontario! It is a long drive (13 hours) but completely worth it to be with our family. The special occasion was my cousin Curtis' wedding, in which Kevan was a groomsman. Here are some pictures from the wedding day:

"The Chandlers" - my mom and dad, and grandma and grandpa. Aren't they lovely?!

I am proud to announce the new Mr. and Mrs. - Curtis and Valerie Heaton!

"And how are we related again?" From left to right: Me, Samantha (our cousin), Kevan (my brother), Alex (someone else's cousin), and Anne (Sam's cousin)

While we were in Canada, there were a few essential things we needed to do... Among them was going to see the new movie, "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World," which is about Canadians and filmed in Toronto. My Auntie Diana introduced Alex and I to Ice Capps at Tim Horton's, and the whole lot of us went to Swiss Chalet for quarter chickens, on the recommendation of Winston-Salem's most recognized and esteemed resident Canadian, Scott Benson. Kevan had poutine, but I didn't get to try it. However, I got to have a couple cups of tea with my Auntie Ruth, crocheted with my Grandma Chandler, and watched "Young Victoria," which seemed just too appropriate. We did not go out of our way to see Niagra Falls, but we did pass by Lake Erie and cross Lake Ontario... making that three of the great lakes I've seen this summer. It was three days of lazy mornings and late nights, jogs around the neighborhood and stories around the table. I love my family - they are incredible. And Canada is too!