I was about five minutes into my sermon when I heard the phone in my pocket ring.
Yes, it was my turn to have my phone with me in church, the volume turned up and had someone call me on a Sunday morning, right in the middle of a worship service! Naturally I paused the sermon, excused myself and took the call. It was my wife.
It was my wife calling from Haiti!
OK, it was a set up. We had arranged it beforehand. It wasn’t easy to pull off, but she timed her call perfectly. It also wasn’t easy because she was calling from Haiti just six weeks or so after the earthquake in 2010. As we learned of teams going there to help, she knew she needed to go. She hooked up with a team from LCMS – World Relief and put her nurse practitioner skills to works with the third wave of responders.
Neither of us had any idea what to expect. As suggested, she packed minimally, including an ingenious “bug hut” to sleep in. Upon arrival she worked from a clinic set up at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Port-au-Prince, sleeping in a concrete courtyard since most structures still standing weren’t considered safe. At that time, bodies were still being discovered, limbs were being amputated and the airport was just barely open. It was an adventure to say the least, and reassuring for all to hear her voice over the church sound system.
From that trip my wife made some very good friends, a ministry partnership between our congregations was formed, and we would return many times. But I wish you could have seen everyone’s faces when my phone rang in church!