From time to time I get discouraged. Doesn't everybody - from time to time that is?
Often I get frustrated at how many people don't return my calls or respond to my e-mails. Sometimes I think it might be better not to try to make appointments, but just to drop in unexpectedly. I've actually had success using this tactic, and one of my favourite things to do is to go to a particular community and just walk in through church doors. In 5 years I've only had one what I would consider negative response. I even forget where, exactly, but it was a rather fundamentalist church who wanted nothing to do with Alpha because Catholics used it too. I resisted the temptation to come back with the snappy rejoinder, "Catholics also use the New Testament from Matthew to Revelation. Do you reject it as well?"
But I digress. A couple of weeks ago I telephoned a church in Edmonton hoping to speak with the Pastor. He was on holidays; could I call back the following week? No problem. I called back the next Tuesday, thinking I would give him his Monday to get back into the swing of things. He was in a meeting; would I like to leave a voicemail? So I did. No reply. So I emailed a friendly message saying I hoped we could get together. No reply. I was feeling quite rejected.
Yesterday another pastor, Senior Pastor of a pretty large church called me. I asked how things were going with him. He shared how it might be a sign of summer, but he was getting frustrated at how people didn't return his calls and emails. I said, "And here I thought I was the only one with that problem." It didn't necessarily make me feel any better, but at least I was not alone in my misery.
This morning I got a call from the church mentioned two paragraphs above. Not from the pastor, but from someone else on staff who had no idea I had been trying to reach them, but asking for help and advice on running Alpha this fall. Coincidence, eh? We spoke for a while, and I made an appointment to visit the Pastor next week. Mission accomplished in a roundabout way.
God seems to do this - from time to time - come up with little ways to encourage us in our times of frustration or discouragement.
Outta the blue.