Tuesday, February 28, 2006

missionaries of all sorts

We’re in the middle of the annual missions conference at our church. It always starts with a Sunday morning flag parade. This year the choir sang the flags in. Since I’m in the choir I was part of the festivities. One of the requirements was to wear an ethnic costume. E. and I went thrift store shopping for ours - a colorful shirt for him, a purple sari for me.

On Sunday morning when we went through our song for the first time I could hardly sing because of the lump in my throat (and so I ask myself how will I ever handle the celebrations in heaven when a little church flag parade gets me all choked up). It was wonderful!

(To watch the 5-minute flag parade pull the video bar to 6:50.)

Then today I went to the women’s missionary luncheon. There Elizabeth Sakala a pastor’s wife, from Zambia shared her mother-heart for the women and kids of Africa. Then Helena Purshaga, wife of Alexander, who was put in prison in Russia last June, encouraged us. Finally after yummy exotic food – vegetable rice, some kind of sesame chicken, carrots, a creamy yam casserole and hot samosas speaker Marie Miller, who started out as an Air Canada executive but realized there was more to life than climbing the corporate ladder, challenged us with the thought that no price is too high to pay for one soul.

I also met June. She sat at my table and I wondered what kind of exceptional lady she was when our before-lunch chat kept getting interrupted by people coming to talk to her. I soon discovered this remarkable 95-year-old is a missionary of sorts herself – to street people and recovering addicts. What's really amazing about this is she felt God's tap on her shoulder to do this 14 years ago - when she was 81! One of the things she does now is regularly visit the Teen Challenge house out in Yarrow where she’s a counselor. The men (recovering addicts) love to talk to her and tell her about their lives.

I didn’t hear her whole story but I got her phone number and her promise that some day soon, we’ll get together. I’m going to bring my handy little recorder because I want to write up her story into a little profile piece.


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