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The Peculiar Journey of a Message in a Bottle

A glass bottle washed up on the beach, a decades-old note inside: sounds a bit like a movie, right? For Clint Buffington, that situation turned into a reality.

Buffington found the bottle in question in 2011, while on a beach in the Turks and Caicos Islands near the Bahamas. The note inside "contained a few clues: an address (419 Ocean); a name (Tina) … The words 'Return' and 'reward' eventually became more clear, too." Buffington—"an experienced message-in-a-bottle hunter"—eventually tracked down a potential contact by the name of Paula Pierce, whose mother Tina had been an owner of a motel on 419 Ocean Boulevard in Hampton, New Hampshire.

It wasn't until recently, however, that Buffington and Pierce finally met in person. Pierce, whose father is believed to have written the message, said it was "like being contacted from the past." "That gave me chills today," she said. "I actually started to cry."

And Buffington? "I've been really lucky that I have this thing that allows me to open the door and connect with people that I would never have any reason or right to connect with otherwise."

Potential Preaching Angles: What "message in a bottle" moments can we look for as we seek to connect with people? What doors can we open in order to foster relationships that may have never existed otherwise?

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