Reading time: less than 3 minutes. I love a good surprise. The best surprises are always new discoveries about the people in my life. You just never know what lurks beneath the surface. I arrived at Concordia Senior College in the fall of 1975, my first time ever away from home in my native Oregon. It was there at CSC that I first ran into a bunch of Texans. I immediately formed a first impression about these brash, rowdy guys from Austin, Lubbock, and a few other places around the Lone Star State. I pretty much decided we didn’t have anything in common. I was in for a big surprise. Some of those guys became my closest friends. Sitting around homesick in the Midwest, we started telling stories of home and found that Texans and Oregonians both share a great pride for their home state. We understood each other. My wife surprised me the other day. We’ve always had huge differences in our taste in music. She walked in and asked, “What’s that you’re listening to?” “It’s a new R&B station I found,” I said. “I love this music!” Thirty seven years married and I’m still learning things. Carol and I became even a little bit more of a WE that day. We have that station on all the time now! My Senior Pastor, nearly twenty years older than me, once said in a staff meeting, “It’s kind of like in the second Predator movie where the alien creature…” I don’t remember the rest of what he said. I interrupted, “Really? You’ve seen BOTH Predator movies?” We grew a little closer that day. Intellectual wellbeing is really more our curiosity about other people than it is our curiosity about books. God gave us to each other and we’re like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Together we form a beautiful picture of God’s handiwork, the Church, the body of Jesus Christ. Sometimes we have to be curious enough to come alongside a piece quite different than ourselves and spin it around to see how we might fit together. I’m very curious to learn more about the Koinonia Project in our synod. I got a chance to have a conversation with First Vice-President Herb Mueller about it last week, and he is very encouraged by early results of pastors getting together for conversation. We’re discovering that there is so much more that we share in common than there is that divides us. I’m also really enjoying my travels around synod with Grace Place Wellness ministries. I love the opportunity to sit with pastors and others in ministry and say, simply, “Tell me your story.” Wow! I’m hearing stories of hometowns very much different than my own. I’m hearing about families with backgrounds and tastes and passions I never could have imagined. I’m hearing about faith journeys that have taken twists and turns very different than mine, but through it all, I’m hearing over and over again of the one body, the one Spirit and the one faith that we share. What a joy to share this unity, and to be a part of a WE that the Lord is building in our church. Hove you had a surprise lately? I’d love to hear about it! A Congregational Wellness Weekend is designed to help create a ministry environment at your church or school where professional church workers can thrive and serve joyfully in their calling at top capacity. Let’s start the conversation today! Find more information on our website or contact Program Director Darrell Zimmerman to learn more.