Dear Lee,

What joy a friendship can be, and mine with you is one I am constantly overjoyed to have. Arriving at CIC, God couldn’t have surprised me more than to provide such a unique friend. You may be an old geezer, but I appreciate you nonetheless. Friendship is described as “taming” by one of my favorite books, The Little Prince:

“I am looking for friends.” said the Little Prince. “What does that mean — tame?”
“It is an act too often neglected,” said the fox. “It means to establish ties.”
But if you tame me, then we shall need each other.
To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world….”

l know you love professional drag racing, so let me try for a metaphor to explain our friendship with some horsepower attached to the engine. The faster acceleration and the higher top speed are both components to make the car win in the race. In a friendship, what makes the friendship “win” is sharing life- its sorrows and joys, as well as what makes us unique; it’s a gift of one’s self to the other. I get it, right? But I think you will agree with me, every highway needs a lane going in both directions for cars to drive safely. Just as for a friendship to survive, we both need to share ourselves to the other without judgment. You have done that for me and I have been able to do that for you.

Do you remember that first day we were at Lunch in the Park and you came up, and said, “I have never had a white friend before, Robby. In the south, it isn’t like it is here. They are still stuck in the old days, the past times, you’re the first white friend I have ever had.” I don’t know if you know, Lee, but where I’m from there aren’t too many black people. I even remember at one point praying to God asking for more diverse friends, and lo’ and behold here you came with your swag and southern Louisiana style. Because of you, I’ve learned that there is diversity among us, but that we have more similarities than differences. You’re human just as I am; no color difference, no difference in dignity or difference in being a child/son of God.

“People have forgotten this truth,” the fox said. “But you mustn’t forget it. You become responsible forever for what you’ve tamed. You’re responsible for your rose.” – The Little Prince

What a gift friendship can be when it’s revealed in the most unlikely of places. Every one of us has been gifted with unique encounters. Mine just happens to have a big toothy white grin and a bald head with charm for everyone! I really do appreciate our conversations about Bandimere and fast cars, food from Louisiana, and crazy girls in America no matter the state.

My prayers will be you, my friend.
Your friend,

Screen Shot 2017-01-23 at 5.20.12 PMRobert is a second-year missionary from Garden City, Kansas. He enjoys playing sports, playing Settlers of Catan and various other board games, and long walks on the beach.