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The best birthday present

March 14, 2008

Scott drives a 15-passenger van on Thursday nights for his “Bethel Buddies” program. He picks up about 10 kids at their houses in St. Paul and drives them to Bethel University in Arden Hills where they eat dinner in the cafeteria and spend time with their Bethel mentors. Then Scott drives them all home again at the end of the night. He doesn’t get home until after 8:00 p.m.

Scott doesn’t usually look forward to this weekly event– the van gets loud, the kids get crazy, and he has to spend two hours driving a 15-passenger van down the snowy, narrow residential streets of St. Paul. Last night, he was REALLY not looking forward to it because it was his birthday.

But God knew what Scott needed. Even though Scott has a cold and was worn out and had to spend his birthday driving a van full of obnoxious kids, he came home with a big smile on his face. “I had the most amazing conversation with the kids.”

He then proceeded to tell me how the last four kids in the van started asking him questions about God. One asked, “What happens to a baby that’s born and then dies?” “Did God have a plan for that baby’s life?” These kids are smart. They have brilliant minds and big hearts. “Sometimes, I just wish God was right here so we could ask him all our questions.”

This kind of conversation is rare in the van, but God blesses Scott a couple times a year with it. I’m writing about this not so that we pity or feel sad for the kids — because we shouldn’t. I’m writing about it because I need to be reminded that although there are many hardships with Scott’s job, there are also so many blessings. And we have only begun to see what the Lord is doing in the lives of these little ones.

The night ended with one of the girls saying to Scott, not knowing it was his birthday, “I want to give you something. One is broken, but I want to give you the one that’s not broken.” And she handed Scott a 101 Dalmatians key chain.

And this morning, love and hope rest between a house key and a car key.

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