Two of my dearest friends back in my hometown of Dallas are Andrew & Allison. I first met “A & A” (as I was fond of calling them) at a church that we were all relatively new members of, about 12 years ago. Shortly thereafter, we ended up in a small home group together for a while, and there our friendship grew. They lived very close in my neighborhood, about a 5 minute drive away. After they moved on to another church, we kept in touch at various intervals. But when I needed help, these two people were there for me so many times and in so many ways. They fed my cats when I took my mom on a cruise later in the year after my dad passed away. And after my husband left, they had me over for many dinners and movie nights. In addition, Andrew bailed me out of countless car troubles, computer issues, helped me navigate buying my used iPhone, etc. And Allison was always one of my favorite “great escapes” – we could hang out talking for hours and never feel it was enough time. She helped me with various chores when I was preparing to move, including taking boxes of papers to a shredding service for me.
So it was very interesting that when I had been praying about where I could find help with the myriad of finishing or maintenance projects I needed to deal with around my house, that God would bring me another “A & A” team – Ali & Aileen.
Ali & Aileen are from South Africa and first came my way in November as traveling volunteer workers that I am in charge of coordinating for our development. (In fact, they arrived in Ecuador on 11/11 – two years to the day after my arrival!) We hit it off immediately, finding common ground in the fact that the church they’d attended in South Africa was of the same faith tradition I had grown up in. Just a few days after they arrived to work for us, I offered for Aileen to come with me on the bus for shopping in Manta. By the end of the day, I felt like I’d known her for years! We had so much in common, it was uncanny (and we continued to find even more similarities in later shared times together). At one point, I told Aileen in an email that I wished they could stay here forever. It didn’t occur to me that they would want to, because we were the first place they had come on their travels. But she responded the next day and told me they had both said the same thing to each other the night before. As it turned out, they had a gap in their travel plans because one of their scheduled arrangements canceled. And suddenly, I realized they were the answer to my prayers! I invited them to return after their other commitments ended and stay with me and be my own personal “Workawayers” until they had to leave for Mexico for the birth of their youngest daughter’s first child. So they have now come back and over the next several weeks, we will tackle my long list of projects and get as much knocked out as we can.
This is just the beginning of the story – there are many more details and much more to come. I’m confident you will be hearing a lot more from me in the future about my new “A & A” angels!