Six years ago, a Nigerian mother expecting quadruplets boarded a flight by herself bound for Atlanta, leaving behind her husband and 4 year old daughter. Shortly after her arrival, all four babies were born at Emory Crawford Long Hospital, far away from their native Nigeria. Shortly after their arrival, the Northlake congregation embarked on a journey that few involved will ever forget.
A church family, recently returned from a year abroad in China, offered to transform their basement into a maternity ward of sorts. One by one, the babies came home from the hospital. Bottles were made, diapers were changed, and the volunteers came. For almost four months, a steady stream of volunteers shuffled in and out of the basement to care for these babies. Eventually, it was time for them to travel home and meet their big sister. It was sad to see them go, but as the basement returned to normal, we all knew that one day, we would see this family again.
Easter Sunday 2016 was that day. That afternoon, the entire Ehimare family arrived in Atlanta after a long flight from Abuja. Mom, dad, and big sister, along with the four quadruplets, now almost six years old, returned to Atlanta to reconnect with the Northlake congregation. The babies are not babies anymore, so the family did not return to the basement for lodging this time. But God always provides – another family was gracious enough to take in all 7 members of the family for two weeks.
Just as the birth of those four babies six years ago brought the Northlake congregation closer together, the birth of Jesus continues to this day to bring people together from all around the world into communion with God and with each other through His plan of salvation. If you don’t believe me, perhaps an explanation of how a family from Abuja, Nigeria was connected with a congregation in Tucker, Georgia would help. An American missionary visits a church in Abuja where he meets an expectant mother carrying quadruplets. The missionary returns to Dallas, TX where he recounts his encounter with the expectant mother to a church member. This church member was formerly the youth minister at a church in Atlanta, where the expectant mother is due to arrive very soon. So he contacts his old friend, who is an elder at the church in Atlanta. The elder sends a few ladies to meet the expectant mother, who is staying with her old college roommate who she connected with on Facebook before leaving. The ladies, seeing the enormity of the expectant mother’s belly, quickly realize the enormity of the challenge. Undaunted, they agree to help. And that’s how the Ehimare family came to be forever linked with the Northlake congregation, made possible by the communion we share in the body of Christ.
We have enjoyed spending time with the Ehimare family. We have shared meals and laughter. We have introduced them to such things as Bar-B-Que and the beach. We will be sad to see them go. But we know that we will see them again, whether in this life or the next. And that is made possible by the communion we share in the body of Christ.
~ Brandon Johnson