Lord willing, I am relaxing in Mammoth this morning. We will return to SoCal and probably leave a lot of fish still swimming in the lakes and streams. This morning I am offering a Back Page from the archives. It was written for June 8, 2008. The Pek family is still in SoCal, and we see them occasionally.

Do you know the Pek family?

That’s my point. I didn’t either. Not really. I shook their hands just about every Sunday for over a year. But I didn’t know them. A couple of weeks ago, I got a letter from them with a request to speak up in their defense before an immigration judge on June 6. In preparation for that meeting, I went to lunch with them last Sunday. And, in a very “God-thing” moment – Robert and Shirley Lie joined us. Robert is from Indonesia (just like the Peks!) and facilitated much better communication!

In the middle of lunch, I almost cried. My heart was broken. The Peks came to the States within the last couple of years. They lived in an Islamic section of Indonesia and are one of the few Christians in their family. As they gathered on Christmas evening to worship a few years back, some folk came into the service to demand payment if the church was to remain safe. According to Dewi (mom), that was a turning point. No longer could they raise their children with constant fear of attack because of their faith.

To make a very long story short, they came to America for asylum and are working their way through the system to remain. They live in Lawndale and have two students at Torrance High. They are working on their English, and Mom and Dad are both employed in the food service industry – he makes sushi for Whole Foods! They have quite a story…and it continues to unfold.

As we drove home last Sunday from lunch, Christie and I both marveled at the fortitude it must have taken to leave home and family to come to America. They didn’t speak English. They didn’t know very many people. There is no family around. Except Peninsula. There are two things which grabbed my heart. First, can’t we do something to help them develop their English? They sit through worship and struggle to understand what they hear.

And second, when we shake hands on Sundays – take a moment to build a relationship. Use the patio to deepen bonds. We are one in Christ, and we need to minister carefully and thoughtfully to each other. And then, maybe, just maybe, invite a stranger to lunch some week. Practical acts of Christian kindness. You will be blessed! And maybe even moved to tears like me. There are some amazing stories of faith sitting around you this morning. Explore them.