My friend Dorothy is beginning a new chapter of her life.  She is moving to Colorado with her husband and 11 children.  As I am writing this they are in the van beginning their drive to their new home.

I have known Dorothy since before I moved to Minnesota from California.  As we were preparing to fly to Minnesota to look for a place to live, I received a phone call from Dorothy.  She was introducing herself and offering to help in any way she could while we were in town house hunting.  I have to admit that it was a bit unnerving to have a complete stranger call and talk to me as if we had known each other forever!  Little did I know how important this woman and her family would become to me and my family over the years and it is so typical of who she is!

My family arrived in Minnesota right before Thanksgiving 1996.  We were not ready for Winter since we had spent 10 years in California with almost no winter!  Dorothy met me at Church and introduced me to all the thrift stores.  I was able to buy all the winter stuff I needed for about $20.  I was hooked and Dorothy has kept me up to date about the “latest”  great store!

Dorothy walked with me through the adoption of Giovanna.  She listened to me when I was frustrated, let me cry on her shoulder when all I wanted was to have her here  in my arms and it felt like China was taking forever with the paperwork.  She was the first person outside out family to see her pictures and to encourage me that while waiting was hard, God’s timing was perfect1

Dorothy had a way of challenging my thinking in ways that never seemed confrontational and almost always worked!  She would loan books or share links to articles that she had read – all meant to challenge my thinking and ultimately make changes in my life.  Sometimes if she wasn’t seeing the changes she thought were necessary, she would get a bit more forceful, but I always felt loved and knew that she was genuinely concerned about me becoming all that God wanted me to become.

Dorothy has a big heart and has always advocated for those that our society would leave behind.  The elderly, those that can’t understand our complicated governmental system and especially those precious little ones that have challenges that could make life difficut for them as they grow up.  She and her husband have been willing to adopt those children that suffer from things like FASD when other families are not.  They are willing to endure the stares when t heir children misbehave and need correction in public and patiently explain the “unseen” difficulties that their children struggle with.

Dorothy has been transparent in sharing her struggles through her blog and as a result, she has ministered to many, near and far.  She is not afraid to tackle the hard  issues, share her successes and struggles.  And as typical with Dorothy, in the thick of packing and getting ready to move, she is seeing God opening doors and asking for prayer.  I am so thankful for her life and ministry.

So Dorothy as you and your family leave Minnesota today and look to the next chapter, may God bless you as you travel and begin to explore the options that God has for you there.  I will miss you.  You are the one person that I have known since before I moved here.   While you always talked about God sending you out on a “church plant”, I never thought it would be so far away.  May God surround you with new friends who will  assist you in adjusting to your new home as you have done for so many here.  May God provide all that you need in the coming weeks and months as you grieve your losses from here and deal with the challenges and excitement of your new home and location.

Thank you for being a friend to a stranger, welcoming my family to the twin cities and for helping me to see the  inner city with new eyes, praying for me and my family. Thanks for living your life openly before others and shining the light of Christ into the dark places in your neighborhood.

I will miss you my friend.