Here's my first ever prayer letter...
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Dear Friends and Family:
Almost 3 years ago I began one of the most important journeys of my life by traveling to Kolkata, India for 4 months with Word Made Flesh (WMF), an organization that works around the world serving Jesus among the poorest of the poor. Many of you supported me on that journey and know how it changed me. Now, so many months later, I find I am forever altered.
One of the moments that changed me most happened on a train outside of Kolkata when we stopped at one last depot before arriving at Howrah station. It had been a twenty-four hour journey and I’d been sick for the 2 days before we began traveling. I wanted nothing more than to reach home. Sitting in oppressive heat, I put my head against the bars of the window, hoping to catch the smallest gush of air, when a woman stopped outside my window to beg. She was old and wore impossibly thick glasses. The sari she had on was as dirty and thin as she was, and when she asked for money, mimicking the motion of eating, I smiled and said no. I’d already given all my coins to other beggars on the train. But, she kept asking and I kept smiling and saying no.
And then, for a moment, the world stopped. The heat lessened and I had this intense moment of clarity when I heard a voice say: care for the widows.
I took a ten rupee note, the smallest bill I had, and passed it to her through the barred window. It was a large amount to give, but it would buy her at least one meal. She took the bill and pressed it to her forehead, putting her hands together in a gesture of gratitude. I can’t be certain, but I think she began to cry.
Tears filled my own eyes. It was only ten rupees, the equivalent of twenty-five cents. For me it was nothing, to her it was everything. She walked away, the train began to move, and I reached Kolkata, never thinking I would see her again. But now, I see her around every corner; little old women in tattered saris wearing coke bottle glasses. She is haunting me, her tears, her gratitude. She was thankful for so little. And the question that lingers in my soul is this: why wasn’t I willing to give more?
That question has changed my life. In Luke 21:1-4, Jesus told the story of the widow who only had 2 copper coins, all she had to live on, and she gave them both as an offering to God. She gave out of her poverty. I am by no means an impoverished woman. I’ve been blessed with so much, and so, for me to give out of my poverty is a difficult task. I have found that the place where it is most difficult for me to give is the area in which I am the most poor. At 35 I am unmarried and do not have children. In the place of marriage and a family of my own, the relationships I share with my sisters and their children and my dear friends are my most precious treasure. It truly feels as if they are all I have; they are my 2 copper coins. They are the possession I have not wanted to give up. But I no longer want to ask myself why I am not willing to give more…I am willing, and so I give even these, the ones I treasure, knowing that as I give, nothing will ever be the same.
In February 2008 I am moving to Galati, Romania where I will serve with the WMF community in a 3 year commitment that I hope will grow into many more years of service. In Galati, WMF has established a drop-in center called Casa Vale where around 30 impoverished children come each day for tutoring, showers, meals, love, and prayer. Relationships develop that are life-changing. It is my hope to serve in some capacity as a counselor among these kids, many of whom have attachment disorders, suffer from sexual abuse or addictions. Plans are also in the works to begin a job development program that would generate employment opportunities for these kids as they grow, as well as for their parents.
I give my copper coins, and for what? For a Kingdom I believe is more real than anything I can see or hold here. I give in order to serve Jesus by working with children and families in Romania who suffer from poverty and its many effects. I give in the hope that although they are poor materially, they will become rich spiritually. I give all I have because I want to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with my God (Micah 6:8).
And I humbly ask you to join me in this giving. I am in need of friends and family who will support me monthly with finances and prayer. I know not everyone is called to go and live among the poor, but I am certain of my calling and have found my deep happiness. I would love if you would join me in this happiness as together we serve Jesus.
Enclosed you will find a card where you can respond as to how you would like to give, whether in prayer or funds. Any checks should be made out to Word Made Flesh, but do not put my name on a check…the response card is for that purpose.
I am grateful for this opportunity to share my life with you, but also to be giving my life away for the gospel. I anticipate great things as we partner together for the Kingdom.
…for continued open hands as I say good-bye to friends and family.
…for the quick learning of the Romanian language.
…for wisdom as WMF Romania prays regarding opening a new field in Moldova, of which I may be a part.
Friday, November 16, 2007
Here's my first ever prayer letter...
Posted by April at 9:48 AM