• Jill Jarrell Newsome

Friends With Pens

Yesterday I went to the mailbox and amongst all the junk mail was a card addressed to me! It was a card with a handwritten letter, inside, from one of my mentors, a previous pastor of mine! She made my day! As always, the card came on a day that I could use encouragement. It was so special and meant so much to me that someone would take the time to do that just for me! Hebrews 10: 24-25, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

Another thing I thought about recently was my childhood relationship with Mrs. Higgins, who was a pillar of my church. I walked from Roland Grise school to her house to wait for Girl Scouts. She lived across from my church so we would visit and have a snack. She made the best homemade tea cookies. We always laughed and had fun! She wore her hair in a tight bun but she would take it down and let me brush it. I know no one else at church had seen her hair down! I think of her every time I make a covered dish because she told me, when I get her age, I do not ever have to make or take anything again! I am grateful for our relationship and time spent together.

I thought about these things when our children's ministry began s pen pal program with senior adults. The other week, on Mom’s birthday, a family friend stopped by with a young lady and they had come to tell “Honey” that they are pen pals. It turns out that this young lady lives down the street from Honey. Her “adopted” grandmother, taught school with Honey for years and they are good friends. her “adopted” aunt, was in Honey’s second grade class. Her aunt said when she heard who the pen pal was, she just cried - She knew it was a God thing. Because they are both new, neither of them know many people at church. The children's ministry coordinator did not know about this connection, she just told them, “I have the perfect pen pal. Her family calls her Honey. She was a 2nd grade teacher and is in her 80's.”

Letter writing was popular during Bible times. Ephesians is a book of the Bible that is a letter from the apostle Paul to people he knew and loved. He sent a message of grace and peace to the Christians of ancient Ephesus. I love the way Paul starts his letter in Ephesians 1: 2, “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” That is an encouraging opening. What a great thing for the church to be teaching their children about encouraging others! We should all be doing that. Ecclesiastes 4: 9-10, "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls down, one can help the other up." The new pen pals told me they are excited about this adventure because they will be able to visit, they will be like "family" and they are already becoming new friends. Honey said she likes to be with young people and learn from them because she has grandchildren and great grandchildren.

We discussed not being able to experience camp or Vacation Bible school this summer and how hard that is. Being new at church, it is hard to make new friends. She is excited for this connection. I love the quote, “We need old friends to help us learn to grow old and young friends to help us stay young.” In our visit, the new pen pals learned they have a lot in common. They both love salt water, ice cream, the colors blue and orange, the book, “The Secret Garden” and growing flowers.

Any of us could be a pen pal to a child during this time. Hopefully, the older generations can share their wisdom of what really matters in life. Children can share their experience for life and get a little writing practice! Usually our friends are the same age but we miss something special when we do not have friends who are different ages than us. It is nice to have the perspective and experience from people who are at different life stages. Proverbs 13: 20, "Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm." We all need each other. We can learn so much from each other just by taking the time to be a friend! Who can you be a pen pal with?


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