Greetings & Salutations to the saints and sinners of East Zorra!
The Good Word says, ‘Cast your bread upon the waters, and it shall return to you after many days’
This makes no sense to us. Any bread I throw in the water is soon a pile of mush, and slowly sinks out of sight! Have you ever sat by a river and seen a piece of bread floating by? I never have. However, on further consideration, it is good advice. To cast one’s bread upon the waters is an expression that means to give generously without worrying about what you will gain from it or what the people will do with what you give them.
In the summer of 2004, an email came across Margaret’s desktop at Interfaith asking for host families for Canada World Youth. The host’s obligation was to feed and house and introduce them to Canadian customs and life. Do you know how much young men can eat? There would be no compensation for being hosts. Margaret said, ‘I really feel we need to do this’. We had never done anything like it before nor since.
In September, we drove into Kitchener and picked up two young men, one from Kenya and one from Tanzania. Some folks warned, ‘you better watch your stuff. They will take things’. They never did, but they gave us a delightful time as we learned from each other. They tried to teach us Swahili, but we are terrible at learning languages. The time passed so quickly.
When the 3 months were up, Charles, the man from Kenya, disappeared. We were so concerned, but we soon learned he had ‘defected’. Miraculously he had thumbed the 401 and was picked up by a stranger who took him to ‘Sojourn House’ on Jarvis St. in Toronto where he stayed while his case for asylum was being decided. Charles maintains his father in Kenya was poisoned because someone from the predominant tribe wanted his father’s job as a Superintendent of Police. It was an open and shut case.
Through some of our friends, Charles found a place to stay and enrolled in York University to study nursing while he worked a part-time job. Margaret and I proudly attended when Charles became a Canadian citizen. Charles met Sylvia where he was boarding and they married after graduation and moved to Sylvia’s hometown of Triesenburg, in Lichtenstein. Five years ago, we visited them in Lichtenstein and felt like we were treated like king and queen. Three years ago, Charles and Sylvia gave birth to a son Elijah who calls Margaret and me, ‘Grandma & Grandpa Oakey’. Wow! The bread we cast on water’ has come back to us! In fact, this family intends to join us this Sunday as we worship at Queen’s Park, which will be the beginning of a two-week stay at our house.
So, this Sunday is loaded for me. I am especially looking forward to Keith Wagler sharing his personal story. Things were desperate at times, for him, yet God made a way. And Charles & his family will be there. My single children, Katy & Ben are also planning to attend. And hopefully, you will be there too! That will be the cherry on top of another great Sunday!
Come to the water! Don’t be afraid to ‘cast your bread’! God has a way of looking after you.