Never mind that God had worked things out so we could move to Palmerston North in time for my older brother to continue his Christian education at Longburn Adventist College. God had made it possible for Dad's employer to arrange a job transfer; had found us a big enough house on a comfortable-sized section of land in the countryside, which was not too far from the college, in a doable price range--all within a week of the real estate agent laughing in Mum's face when she gave her list of requirements.
We arrived at our new home just before the sun set on Friday. The movers had delivered all our belongings--boxes were everywhere. Mum had listed the contents of each box as she'd packed it, with instructions as to which room it was to be put in, and she was soon able to find bedding and basic requirements for meal preparation.
We had our first family worship in our new home surrounded by boxes, even as I continued to plot in my head how I was going to get my 10-year-old self back to my friends.
But God was about to outdo Himself, not only for our family but for me. Mum and Dad had bought our house from an Adventist family who were moving to Australia. They, in turn, had told Keith and Phyllis Frauenfelder that we were coming. And the Frauenfelders obeyed God's prompting.
The Frauenfelders were watching out for us at church on Sabbath morning. "Come home for lunch," they said.
"There's too many of us," my mother said. But the Frauenfelders insisted and so we found ourselves spending the first of many Sabbath afternoons in the company of one of God's most gracious families. We were so blessed by that family. There was friendship, nature, Bible and God each time we met. Our goodbyes always included a prayer, in the form of that old song "God be with you till we meet again."
Best of all, Mrs Frauenfelder made me feel special. At a time in my life when I needed to be loved by more than my family, God gave me an extra mother. She probably loved all children. She definitely loved me.
The Frauenfelders moved to Australia a few short months after we met them. There wasn't much singing happening on the last Sabbath we spent in their company--but the music still played "God be with you till we meet again."
God has been with us since those days. The actions of the Frauenfelder family introduced me to a concept of God that helped me look beyond myself.
Recently, I met the Frauenfelders again. They are curators at the Sunnyside museum in Cooranbong, New South Wales. When I heard they were there I wasn't surprised. It's a place you'd expect them to be, offering hospitality, graciousness and love to strangers. When God's children are in need, be the one to help them out. And get into the habit of inviting guests home for dinner or, if they need lodging, for the night. Romans 12:13. Christine Miles is a writer, mother and children's ministries volunteer, who lives in Auckland, New Zealand.