By Emily Theresa

Sometimes love finds you in a tuk tuk, searching for a computer repair shop.

It had been two long weeks of ministry in Sri Lanka. Every day, after ministering to mothers, I would update my board back home. I would write blog posts and send photos. It’s what I’d been doing the past decade and for much of it, I depended on my laptop.

After a particularly long day, I went to turn on my computer. The screen wouldn’t register. I cried. I called my dad who is a tech-whiz. He gave me pointers and I tried all of them. None of them worked. I cried some more, and then I slept.

In the morning I awoke, sure of a miracle. But no. The screen still wouldn’t turn on.

After another long day of ministry, Steve (our Director of Development) and I set out in a tuk tuk to the only computer repair shop open – a place called Future Tech.

The streets were dark and the shop, hidden. We had to pass through an alley, then another, and we began to doubt ourselves until we suddenly came upon a store full of light and color and glass windows. Behind the counter sat a man with kind eyes and a beard. He was eager to help, and I handed him my laptop.

Soon, his wife and daughter emerged from the back. They asked us about our lives, brought us tea, served us noodles.

Meanwhile, it was confirmed: my processor was fried. My colleague then mentioned he just happened to have a brand-new laptop which he’d be happy to give me. The family offered to take him back to our guesthouse so he could grab it.

I kept waiting for the ball to drop. I kept waiting for me to have to pay for the new laptop, or for the noodles, or for the examination and extraction of my old laptop. But no.

Everyone just kept lavishing love on me. I walked away with my old hard drive, a brand-new laptop and a new family. I wasn’t charged for any of it. It was all, completely, free.

I laughed the whole way back to the guesthouse. I laughed as I went to sleep and I woke up laughing. Where there had been mourning, there was now dancing. Where there were ashes, there was now beauty.

This year’s Ash Wednesday fell on Valentine’s Day. It’s fitting that our Annual Day of Love marked the beginning of Lent, a season of repentance, yes, but also a season of intimacy with Christ.

We at The Lulu Tree are fasting and praying for 40 days through Lent, for more of this love that drove Jesus to the cross, that fixed His eyes resolutely on Jerusalem. Because this is how we know God’s will, His good, pleasing and perfect will – we know it by abounding in love. (Philippians 1:9)

And I think how fitting it is that what might seem dreary and dark and hard fell on a day of lavishing and abundance.

Because ultimately, the road to the cross is the road to victory, a road that looks a lot like the one we took in a tuk tuk, down dark alleys, around hidden corners, to the greatest outpouring of love the world has ever known.

(A small note to say — Emily’s new memoir is releasing June 4th, about all God has done through The Lulu Tree. If you wish to pre-order, go HERE or HERE if you’re Canadian. If you wish to join Emily’s prayer team for the book, please go HERE)

New memoir by Emily Wierenga