Welcome Home


Stepping off the plane, you are never the same as when you got on.  Mentally, physically, spiritually, or aesthetically. Twenty five days in India.  46 hours straight in airports and airplanes.  Dirty drawstring khaki’s, dirtier flip flops on clay stained feet, and a once white LoveManifest hoodie covered with something that spilled in my carry on… looked like giant coffee stains, but to the onlooker, the possibilities were endless.   The icing was the dirty band-aide on my finger.

Before heading home to California we stopped off in New York to see family.  We landed at 8am, and were met by my brother in law who lives in Brooklyn.

“Just drop me at Brooklyn Tabernacle.”


It had been 25 days.  Twenty five poured out days. More than sleep, more than food, more than a shower, I needed my Savior, and I needed to worship Him with others who needed Him too.

Just leave me at Jesus’ feet.  I’ll see you all later.

They dropped me on the curb and I walked into BT for the first time in my life.  Tore up from the floor up, I stood among others waiting to get in.  So many in their Sunday best… hats and gloves… suits… something I hadn’t seen in a long time.  It was beautiful, and I… wasn’t.

Doors opened and I stepped inside, burst into tears and sat in the front row staring at the scripture behind the empty choir seats.  “God is Love”.

Having no idea where I’d come from, a man with a name tag approached me.  “Boy are you glad to be here!  I saw you come in.  Welcome home.”  I just cried and said, “I’m just so happy to be here.”  He told me that if anybody asked me to move, to tell them to come talk to him.  He was in charge of security.

Odd, I thought, but okay!

So many people came over and said hello. It wasn’t a passing perfunctory “hello”, either.  They lingered… waiting for my response. It wasn’t like “hello, welcome to our church because clearly you are new”, it was more of a “good morning old friend, I’m so happy to see you. You’ve obviously been on a long journey.” They did more than greet me. They loved me.

The place was packed out and there I was, sitting fairly oblivious to the fact that I was alone in the front row.  The row behind me was empty too.  Then they came with the velvet ropes, and roped off all the seats in those two front rows. All but mine.

Brooklyn-Tab-FrontAlone in the front row of Brooklyn Tabernacle.  Dirty.  Stained.  Tear streaked.  Exhausted.  Spent.  Home.

Just before 9:00 the side doors by the stage opened and out they came… all the deacon’s and deaconesses in their beautiful gray suits, taking their seats next to me, and behind me.    Dozens.

Ooooh. I get it now.

I started to laugh.  The deacon next to me said, “you stay right there.  Don’t you move.”

I didn’t.  Except when the choir came out and I jumped to my feet and danced.  Danced with the deacon’s.  Danced with the church.  Danced with the Spirit.   Danced for my Lord.

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. – John 13:35


Valerie Kumra – April, 2012

2 responses to “Welcome Home”

  1. Terry says:

    I can only say, beautiful!

  2. Darby says:

    What a wonderful story.

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