A few weeks ago, I sat in the balcony at church. As I looked across the room, I smiled to see Kristie (Muller) Stilton, in town for the weekend from her home in NC. She was sitting on a pew with her husband and kids, parents, and sisters. Kristie was one of VIP's founding members, way back in 1998. Sitting behind her was Justin Byun - VIP Class of 2016.
I sat there, looking at Kristie and Justin and realized -- here were two people who have played huge roles in the VIP ministry . Yet, they don't know one another at all. How could that be? They came up through the same program, sang some of the same music, and had some of the same experiences. But they're strangers to one another. Their paths just didn't cross. That's so weird to me because when I think of VIP, I think of both of them!
Then, I looked at the third pew - the only other occupied bench on that side of the room. There was a young girl with her family, and I thought to myself, "I think she's a rising 6th grader. If she joins VIP, that makes her the class of 2023."
THEN the calculation hit me: 25 years. There are 25 years between that girl's time in VIP and Kristie's. How can THAT be? 25 years? But yes - Kristie started with VIP in the Fall of 1998. And by the time that child graduates in 2023, 25 years will have passed.
In that moment, I was so... speechless. Humbled. Amazed. Grateful for the gift of knowing these people, and for the opportunity to be involved in a program that has (I pray) glorified God and made a difference in the world. While these three individuals might not know one another, God knows them. And someday, I hope we'll all take our places in heaven's choir - and we'll all know each other.
That girl from the balcony did come to rehearsal. Tomorrow, she will put on the VIP uniform for the first time. She will take her place in the choir and and in the family of VIP.
25, here we come!