It is tonight!
This is the day I meet the Man and Woman who started the school in Uganda, beneath a tree.
My heart is already tender.
I already know I will cry.
I will meet, and hug, and touch people who have used their American “plenty” to benefit others far, far away. The Bible speaks of people like this when it says, “Those of whom the world was not worthy…”
I’ve a soft spot in my heart for missionaries.
If you read my bio, on Facebook, you will see that I attended a school, thinking, one day…
This evening’s affair brings a memory out of my depths…
I will tell you about it!
My modern day heroine is named Lillian Trasher. She is a woman who never meant to start an orphanage, in Egypt, but did, because people kept giving their babies and toddlers to her.
She didn’t »want« to.
She had no real resources.
In fact, she turned a child away once, an infant, because she had no milk for the poor little thing.
The adults who brought the infant told her if she did, they would just leave it in the street and let the carrion-eating birds have it.
She didn’t believe them.
But that is exactly what they did.
The cries, and worse, that she heard in the middle of the night fueled her resolve to never turn a child away again, and her orphanage was the first to be birthed on Egyptian sands.
Well, one day, just about, oh… five years ago, I was at a wedding.
A pastor I knew of, whose wife I had heard at a public speaking engagement before, was there.
She and He work in Dearborn, Michigan with Muslims who convert to Christianity.
They have death threats being made against them all the time – it is a way of life for them, but they continue.
Well, our place cards put us together.
We were at a round table, and we were seated boy-girl, so his wife sat to my left, but her husband, the Pastor sat to my immediate left.
We shook hands.
I don’t know when it started, but I began shaking hands with both my hands when I meet people – clasping my new acquaintance’s hand warmly. It’s not a hug, but it is not so formal, either. I like looking into people’s eyes and connecting.
We made small talk as the evening began.
We talked about their heart for, and their vision for Islamic citizens here, and their labor as they reach out to them with the truth of the Christian Faith.
During our conversation, I learned he was from Egypt.
“Oh! You’re from Egypt!”, I said.
One of the women I admire most in the world lived there. She’s my heroine.”
“Really,” he answered.
“And who is that?”
“She had an orphanage there. Her name is Lillian Trasher. Have you heard of her?”
“I have.”, he said.
“She raised me.”
My eyes looked at his forearm and hand on the table. The hand I just held in both my own, moments ago. It was too overwhelming.
I held in my hands the hand of the man that touched Lillian’s hand every day.
I began to cry.
Tears flooded out of my eyes as emotion flooded my heart at the sight of this grown man who lived daily to benefit others, just as the woman who raised him also lived daily to benefit others.
I saw the hand of a child in Lillian’s hand.
I saw a little boy, on Lillian’s lap.
I saw a helpless boy, once an orphan, now grown into a good strong person, A Pastor!
A pastor who was burdened with the plight of Muslim women living oppressed – in a land known for offering others the greatest freedom the world has ever known.
Here he was, reaching out to them.
Living for God.
Helping them, helping their children.
In the face of death threats against his family.
Here sat before me the fruit of a woman’s labor from thousands of miles away.
Not just ANY woman.
One of whom the world was not worthy.
She’s passed away, now.
I could never meet her.
But here was one of her sons, sitting right next to me.
And he let me hold his hand.
I kept apologizing for my tears.
“I’m sorry. I’m just so overwhelmed that a woman I’ve read about, admired, and aspired to be like, raised you and you’re sitting right here…
You knew her intimately. You touched her every day! I’m staring at the fruit of her life. It’s not a small thing.”
He told me stories of their singing Bible songs as children, and of their relationship.
And of her love for him.
That was my favorite part.
Do you think your love has no impact?
Never think that.
Looking back, recalling what he shared, I realize, I know…
Those things were treasure.
When a person dips into their soul and gives you bits and pieces of it, they are gemstones of the finest quality, and I hope you treat them as such, my friends.
Regard those things as pearls, for they are not easily found, nor are they easily given.
That entire experience was a gift from God.
A kiss from my Heavenly Father intended just for me.
One of those occasions when He whispers sweetly in one’s ear, “I see you. I know the most intimate parts of you.” and you aren’t ashamed, because here He is blessing you, which means He adores you.
Like a good Father who adores and embraces the little girl that climbs into his lap.
He orders our steps, Beloved.
God orders our steps.
Let no one tell you He does not.
That’s kind of what happened with this school in Uganda.
And tonight, I meet them.
I will meet the Berrigans, who saw a need and did not turn away from it.
Who knows what lovely experiences will unfold, when I get to meet two more of those who grace this earth with their presence doing good, even while it spins in the chaotic mess caused by evil men.
My tummy is a-flutter.
My heart is the tenderest of things.
Who knows what wondrous things may come of this?
I will write about it and share if something magical happens…
Something magical already has…