I was raised in a believing home but after my family fell apart and my parents went their separate ways, I can almost remember the day I left home… the day I turned my back on God, Christians, and the church. So set a course for my life of painful wandering.

There were so many days I looked back as if gazing into a distant dream of what once was or could have been. Was home that good? I then recall the very moment I heard His voice. It was almost audible. There was no confusing it from the cultural voices that were shouting ever so loud at the time. His voice was clear and what’s more so, it was remarkably different.

It was the very moment He called me home.

When I arrived I remember feeling so incredibly jubilant. I remember being welcomed by other alumni, some of whom had never left, and others who had since been called home, too. It really was like some sort of parade. Although I’m convinced it was only perception, home seemed different, it seemed like this time I could stay.

I do know one thing, I had changed, and I was ready for family.

Many of you remember us mentioning Theo, the 50 something Wal-Mart greeter. I met Theo and his partner (also a Wal-Mart greeter) over a year ago on one of my many jaunts to the Nelson Wal-Mart. Over time I was able to hear bits of his story; how he was born disabled, lived disabled, and how and why he left home.

Raised in a conservative Dutch home and attending the Reformed church for most of his childhood, Theo, too, thought that he would be much better off making his way on his own. A self-described Christina/Buddhist, Theo is generally positive and upbeat in the face of lifelong disability.

With rarely a whine, Theo rolls on day in, day out, secretly longing for a home.

I always hear people say that home is where you are loved and are able to love. I tend to agree. I remember the parable that Jesus told in Luke 15:

“Suppose one of you had a hundred sheep and lost one. Wouldn’t you leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the lost one until you found it? When found, you can be sure you would put it across your shoulders, rejoicing, and when you got home call in your friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Celebrate with me! I’ve found my lost sheep!’

Count on it—there’s more joy in heaven over one sinner’s rescued life than over ninety-nine good people in no need of rescue.”

We did everything we could to create a place where Theo could be loved and where he could love deeply. Although we partner with Jesus in this amazing Kingdom adventure, it’s really Him that calls people home.

So, together with many friends, the Nelson Vineyard was able to raise enough money to not only replace his old dilapidated van with a newer one, we were able to fit the van with a fully automated wheelchair lift system, something he never had. It was the evening we presented it to him that really stands out.

I stood on behalf of our team and little faith community and tell Theo about how much we loved him and of how much Daddy loves him. I believe this was the night that Theo heard the call home. Since then, Theo has begun attending our Sunday gatherings as often as his work schedule permits.

In fact, it was in conversation with one of our common friends that Theo said that he was attending the Vineyard and rediscovering church.

One person is worth all our efforts.

Lay aside for a moment the revival meetings and conferences, the places where so many “get saved.” In a sense, that’s easy (not unimportant, though). It is in the day-to-day of our lives, the day-to-day functions of Jesus communities, that we often expend so much time, energy and money in just one person. Often it is about the wilderness where we live out the kingdom, searching for that one lost sheep.

It is with tremendously grateful hearts that we thank so many of you for your continued investment in making the Nelson Vineyard a place where people can be loved deeply, encounter Jesus, and rediscover church.

Daniel Snell

~ by blueporch on June 20, 2012.

2 Responses to “Homecoming”

  1. Yep! I would agree…that is true rescue at its finest! Just imagine if we all touched just one life in our lifetime! Wow…so simple, yet so profound! Thanks for sharing….

  2. One can very soon become many. The love virus is one that seems to attach itself rather well. Thanks for injecting this into the community of Nelson

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