I’ve been blessed to travel with CFT a number of times over the last 17 years. While the places I’ve been able to visit, have been beautiful, fascinating, culturally different, educational or just plain fun – it’s the people I’ve shared those trips with that make the experiences memorable.
As I look back at those trips, whether part of a large or small group, there has always been at least one person I felt grateful I’d met and shared some time with. Many, but not all of them, were other women. There’s great joy in arriving for a new tour and seeing people we’ve met on past tours.
Some of those people have become friends we are still in touch with, some were just significant during the time of the tour but we didn’t remain connected. They still left an impression on my life. One group of ladies we travelled with in 2001, still get together a few times a year, to share a game of Mahjong, or chat over afternoon tea.
I think I often approach a tour asking God who He wants me to connect with, praying that I’ll see the opportunities to speak to the people He chooses. Maybe they are people I can learn something from, or maybe there’s a way I can encourage them.
Everyone has a story – and CFT has given us the chance to be together and share those stories, as we travel, explore and eat together. I’ve met some wonderful people and heard such interesting stories over the years. Stories of faith, service and ministry, family, the joys and the sorrows or the challenges of life. We’ve shared both laughter and tears.
There are memories from safari tours in Australia where we ate together under the stars with time to share and get to know people, to far away places and different cultures, where we shared experiences we may have never expected, or just the times when we got to stand amazed together, at the beauty of God’s creation and the blessing of our shared faith to enjoy it.
I’m grateful for that – and it does really make the difference as we “travel with like-minded people”. We begin with something in common and I believe that helps us to share more in the way we interact with eachother.
God doesn’t waste anything – that’s all the chance meetings and fleeting conversations getting on or off a coach; stories shared over a meal or in a toilet queue; the people who enter our lives for a moment, a few weeks, or a lifetime.