Wednesday, July 24, 2013
All sorts of people come to our church. Young, old, shaved heads, blue, red, or green hair, tattoos, suits and dresses, shorts and tank tops. I'm used to seeing almost anything on Sunday mornings.
One Sunday several weeks ago, I was in my usual spot in the children's nursery, waiting to help people check in. The door opened, and a man walked in with his 1-year-old son. He had ear gauges the size of quarters, tattoos all over his arms and legs, and was wearing funky eyeglasses and a backwards ball cap.
"Oh dear!" I thought. "This is NOT the type of person to have a child."
It seems, dear friends, as though I have a hidden judgemental streak that isn't so very hidden. Judging a book by its cover seems to be my downfall.
In fact, that young man has a heart for God. He's a runner...a long-distance runner who has completed more marathons than I ever will, including the famous Boston Marathon. He runs 3 to fifteen miles most days. And what's more, he's a youth pastor. He and his wife and son recently moved here from Jefferson City, MO to be nearer family. His name is Chad.
The Sunday I judged him was likely his first Sunday back.
Of course, I didn't know all of this until yesterday. Yesterday was the day he was reported missing.
He'd left his parents' home, where his small family is staying until they can sell their home in Jeff City, around 8:15 p.m. Monday evening. At 11 p.m. his family was so worried about him they reported it to the police. Tuesday afternoon over 400 people met to search for him. They had to stop because of darkness, but they will search again today.
Police canine units have picked up his scent once and then lost it. Today it was found again by another dog. A web page has been set up to disburse the latest news on the search for him. Businesses and individuals are donating food and drinks for the searchers who are combing the areas assigned by the police. His GPS watch has been checked, but it hasn't yielded any information.
The search continues.
Please join me in prayer that Chad will be found safe, and reunited with his family very soon...that family that is JUST RIGHT for this young man to lead!