This German sister, from the Evangelical Sisters of Mary located in Darmstadt, Germany, deeply touched my life this year. I met her at the Toward Jerusalem Council II summit meeting in Germany last fall. There were about 100 people there from around the world to pray for reconcilation between the Church and the Jewish people.
On the morning of our first meeting, this sister tripped over a stair and fell in the main meeting room. Although across the room, I saw it happen and ran to her. Many people ran to help her, but I was the first one there. “Are you alright, sister?” I questioned, eager to know if I should even move this seventy-or-more-year-old woman. Her voice came back strong, “Yes, yes, let me get up myself.” And she sprung to her feet with such youthful determination.
Again, I questioned, “Are you sure you’re alright?” It was obvious that she was fine. Then she said, “I know these meetings will be extra fruitful; the devil is trying to discourage me. But I am pressing on.” And she found a chair and sat down–a big smile on her face.
I was amazed at her “spiritual” and ready response–always aware of the forces of heaven and hell that are engaged as believers endeavor to bring about God’s kingdom on earth. Her tenacity to be alert to spiritual warfare and her physical spunk really encouraged and blessed me. I almost chuckle to myself now seeing her in my mind’s eye, springing to her feet like a teenager.
That sister touched my life that day with her joy, determination, zeal, spark for life, and physical fortitude. I want to be just like her in my seventies–giving my life to God and His service with abandonment and fighting the devil’s influence every step of the way.
As it draws to a close, I am pondering the events and travels of the year for our family. We have been to Cyprus, Israel, Ukraine, Ethiopia, Germany, Hungary, France, Russia, Brazil, and Argentina. And there may be one or two others countries I missed that we touched enroute to this city or that.
My heart has grown this year, not so much because of the travel adventures, but the people we met and linked arms with.
This sweet little boy touched a deep place in my heart. He and his mother waited for hours at the clinic in Addis Ababa to be seen by a doctor. In fact, when their turn came, I was the first nurse to assess his condition. It was just an earache–something very treatable. The expression on his face in this photo reveals how much his ear hurt…
As I took his pulse and blood pressure, I peered deeply into his eyes. My hands moved over his small shoulders, and finally I gripped his hand as I uttered a silent prayer for God to be revealed in his young heart.
He and his mother were so grateful as they were taken finally into the clinic to see the doctor. They said, “thank you” over and over in English. Tears welled up as they walked away. Imagine! They said thank you in English. I thought to myself with all the opportunity afforded me, I should be speaking Ahamric with them!
In my early life as a believer, I routinely beat myself up for having so much here in America. I have stopped that now–it’s counter productive.
I am learning to give back–to enjoy my blessings–but to give back.
I know this little irony seems so weird but just as the Bible teaches “it is better to give then receive.” Giving is what has filled my life to overflowing this year.
To touch a life for eternity is the greatest responsibility and privilege I will ever bear on this earth. In 2009, I know I will have the same mandate: to humbly enjoy the “fat” of land and humbly share it. There is plenty to go around.
“Freely you have received, freely give.”