Every so often the Lord surprises us with a blessing that goes beyond words. A blessing that has no monetary value and can not be measured by the standards of this world. That blessing is friendship. But not just any ole friend – usually not like an old high school pal or childhood playmate. The Lord talks about a friend who sticks closer than a brother (Prov. 18:24). The friendship between these kind of friends is special and unique. It is not to be compared to any others, it is just to be enjoyed as a gift from the Father. He provides life and encouragement through this type of friendship. After fifty-one years I have come to realize that in a person’s entire life he or she may experience only a handful of these types of friendship and they are to be greatly valued.

The last two weeks we have been blessed as a family to be able to spend time with these kinds of friends. JP and Jennifer Gray came from the States to spend the last two weeks with us and their time with us was like a river of fresh water to our souls. We spent time together ministering, praying, fellowshipping and relaxing in special places in this beautiful country. The life and encouragement that they brought with them was priceless. We were refreshed and strengthened as a result of our time with this special couple.

We became aware during their visit that after thirteen years on the mission field in South Africa what we shared with JP and Jennifer during these past days has been greatly missing in our lives. We have been blessed in many ways relationally over the last thirteen years, but not in the way that we experienced over the past few days. We want to thank the Lord for His faithfulness to know what we need when we need it. And we want to thank JP and Jennifer for their obedience to come to South Africa, not just for their own benefit but for that of our entire family.

If you have special friends that you know God has put in your life for His purposes, make the sacrifices necessary to invest in those people. You will never regret the time and effort that it takes to walk with those special friends.