First Third Conversations

An Unexpected Friendship

FriendA blog post by Rachel Coen-Tuff

Image Credit: Rachel Coen-Tuff

There are a few things that you should know about Bobbie Masnyk. First, she hates being cold. Hate is a strong word, but it is also a strong emotion. Bobbie can be found wearing her fleece jacket on a daily basis. Even in the summer. Second, Bobbie loves to travel. While I was staying with Bobbie as a part of the program Young Adults in Global Mission, she visited Australia twice and New Zealand once. She also went to Turkey for a weekend holiday with her granddaughter.

Third, Bobbie loves coffee and chocolate. Lattes are her favorite and Cadbury chocolate fingers are her preferred dessert choice. Fourth, she loves to Skype on her iPad with her friends in Australia. Last, but not least, she is a committed follower of Christ. Bobbie starts her day with her prayers and devotions, and she is involved in her church St. Luke’s. She is 74 years old.

When I found out that I was going to be living with a woman in her 70’s I wasn’t really sure how it was going to work. I was happy that someone from the church that I was working for was willing to host me for eleven months, but I was expecting a family with two kids and a dog.

 When I arrived at Bobbie’s, she welcomed me with open arms. Bobbie’s love for life and her laugh were infectious. Bobbie’s husband had passed away, and she has three grown children with families and careers of their own. I was the young American girl who didn’t have much in common. I was quick to figure out that I was very wrong; we had much in common.

One of the things that Bobbie and I had in common was travel. One morning after I had come home from church she asked if I wanted to go and see a castle. I quickly agreed, and two hours later we were on our way to Wales to see my very first castle.

I had been pre-warned by people in the community about Bobbie’s driving. She was well known around town for her bright red car, and her car had two car flags. The flags she told me where for her to remember where she parked her car. Bobbie was a little forgetful. We made it to Wales and in one piece, only getting lost once. Our friendship grew quickly. Our love for adventure was filled with day trips on my day off around the English countryside. We also shared a love for coffee and food. Every adventure usually finished with a nice latte and a cookie.

I learned many things in my year in the UK. One of the most valuable things that I learned is that friendship and community can happen anywhere, and it might not look the way that you would expect. My time spent with Bobbie are memories that I will cherish forever. She welcomed my family to stay, took care of me when I was sick, and allowed friends to come over for tea.

God placed me in England and placed me with Bobbie. I was a complete stranger placed into a community that I didn’t know and nobody knew me. I was welcomed in the church community that I worked in with open arms. I was given countless meals, taken to British landmarks, and was shown the love of God. The love that I felt was unexpected, and it was needed.

Now that I am back in the states, I can share many stories of my adventures with Bobbie to whoever will listen. I can tell everyone about how God’s love is unexpected, limitless, and knows no country boarders, and how any day’s worries or fears can be solved with God, a hot cup of tea, and a proper chat. 

Rachel Coen-TuffAuthor Bio:
Rachel Coen-Tuff is a full time student at Luther Seminary and works part time as a youth director, which she loves! In her free time she enjoys spending time with her friends and family and catching up on The Walking Dead. She is new to the Minneapolis and St. Paul area, and she enjoys exploring the cities and experiencing the rich and diverse cultures the cities have to offer! 


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