I’d like to tell you a story – about Tommy and Kristie.

A couple of years ago Tommy was in a motorcycle accident. A very bad accident; so bad that it necessitated a plane ride to a major city and a trauma hospital.

Kristie, Tommy’s dear wife, made it to the city, but without essentials – money, car, etc. He was not doing well physically.  She was not doing well emotionally.  He needed extraordinary medical care, and she just needed to get to the hospital.  All in all, it was a bleak picture.

By the grace of God a cab driver was willing to help Kristie, and was much more willing once she visited the ATM. Putting money in his hand was a good thing.

In a strange city, with no friends, Tommy and Kristie were facing fear and trauma.  Only by God’s grace is there a happy ending to this story. Kristie gathered her belongings, found a room near the hospital, and was with Tommy through some difficult days. Surgery was successful. Tommy survived. With tears, Tommy and Kristie tell their story of God’s care and grace to this day.

As is true in most stories, there is another chapter to be told.

A couple of years ago Brian and I sat down with Lois McMartin of ReachGlobal Member Care to talk about the need for missionary pastoral care in Europe. We were wondering if God was pointing us in that direction. In her quiet manner, Lois unfolded the missionary needs of Europe. In so doing, the story of Tommy and Kristie was told. For you see, the accident and all its surrounding details did not take place in America. The catch to the story is that Tommy was airlifted from one European country to another. From familiar to unfamiliar. From one culture to another. From one language to another. From one medical system to another. They needed help. They needed a pastor, someone to be with them.

Although we did not know their names, the story of Kristie and Tommy tugged at us. We thought of them often as we began the application process. As we completed pages of questions, we thought of them. As we were interviewed, we thought of them. As we waited, we thought of them. We thought of them and others like them.

And now, there is another chapter to this story. Last week Brian and I were in Slovenia as part of this journey to becoming pastors to missionaries. On the coast of the Adriatic Sea we gathered with missionaries across Europe for their bi-annual conference.

A few days into the conference we sat down to lunch with Kristie and Tommy, not knowing with whom we were sitting. Pieces of their story were told, pieces of our story were told, and with sudden realization God presented the fact that we were conversing with the very ones who had been on our hearts for months, even years. We shared tears, hallelujahs, and a few Amens!

Kristie and Tommy, missionaries. Brian and Diane, pastors to missionaries. Connected by God’s grace.

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