Sunday, May 22, 2011

My Own Personal Swami

     This goes back to the 80's. I had a friend from India named Chandana. I loved her name and I loved her. I've lost track of her over the years and I'm so sorry. 
     She invited me to her house one day to meet with a man who was visiting her family. The man was a Swami from India. She told me he was interested in helping the people who were less fortunate. His interest, of course, was mainly India. Chandana thought it would be good for him to hear of what some Americans were doing to help poor folks in other countries. She knew our church had an interest in Haiti and that many, myself included, had gone there to work.
     So I went to visit the Swami. I didn't know what to expect and found him dressed in orange cotton pants with an orange matching cotton long shirt, which hung over his pants. He was barefoot, sitting on the floor, with his legs folded, Indian style. Chandana pulled a chair up for me. Then she introduced us and explained to the Swami why I was there. His English was quite good.
     First of all he told me all about the wonderful work he was involved in, in India. Chandana reminded him why I was there.      
     He asked me questions about Haiti and our  involvement. I tried to answer his questions but they were so cut and dried, I found myself telling him all about Ebenezer Glenn Orphanage in Dessalines, Haiti. It's the most wonderful Orphanage and God is there!
     He made a critical comment to me about Christianity. I explained to him that Christianity is one of the religions in the world but that while I am Christian, I'm Evangelical Christian. There's a big difference, I said. I went on to explain that I have asked Jesus for forgiveness of my sins and invited Him to live in my heart.
      I then told the story in the third chapter of John about Nicodemus going to Jesus at night and asking how to receive eternal life. I boldly said, "Jesus is alive and is a living reality within me!" 
     He told me he had talked to many Christian leaders all over the world and he had never heard anything like that before! He took a paper and pen from his shirt pocket and said he wanted to write down what I had said! 
     He was writing in his own language so I have no idea what he wrote. Our visit ended and I never saw the Swami again. Driving home I knew I had just experienced something very special. The Holy Spirit had done the talking, I was just the instrument! What a privilege. 
     I have prayed for him over the years. Only God knows the result of our visit that day. For a while I felt guilty because perhaps I didn't say enough. But, I've left this Swami in God's Hands. I'm hoping and praying that he studied Christianity in a whole different light and that I'll see him in heaven some day!

Friday, May 6, 2011


     One of my first students as an ESL tutor was a little Japanese boy about six years old, Susumu. He was a delightful boy. We became good friends and he worked hard for me. Children learn to speak a new language so quickly. I worked with him for one hour five days a week, three days at home and two days at school. 
     A friend gave me a map of Japan,  so one day I took it to school with me. It happened to be all written in Japanese! I couldn't read it. I took it out of my bag and before I could even open it out, Susumu grabbed it! He had noticed the Japanese writing. He ran to center of the room, opened the map out full size, spread it out on the floor and laid on it! 
     Then I knew...sometimes he looked so sad, sometimes he looked unhappy. He was homesick! This was as close as he could get to Japan! There he laid on the floor, on the map. I let him lay there. Finally he looked up at me. I smiled. He slowly got up. We folded the map together. We talked about Japan and had a slow relaxed hour. I think he liked that. We bonded that day. 
     The family returned to Japan after their five years with the company here. I've lost contact with them. I pray for their well being and safety. 
     I wish I knew how they are now.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

My Best Mother's Day Gift

Mother's Day is almost here. I'm writing this story a little early just because I thought of it the other day. 
     Our church used to honor a mother for Mother's Day by making her Mother of the Year! Everyone loved it and looked forward to the surprise of whom ever would be honored each year. 
     One year I was on the committee to choose the person for that year. We had folks write their candidate on a paper along with why that person was worthy to be honored.
     When we read the sheets one name stood out. It was my job, to find out all the information about her past and present, write a paragraph or two to be read on Sunday morning as they bestowed upon her the honor of being Mother of the Year. I took my job seriously and wrote down all the facts her daughter gave to me, in an interesting way. It was an important job and I loved this worthy lady.
     Sunday morning arrived and I was so excited. We arrived early so I could make sure everything was ready. We had a sash to drape over her shoulder and across her dress and a bouquet of red roses. We had a gold plaque made up with her name printed on it. It was already up on the pulpit. 
     Finally, it was time to start. I was sitting where I could see her face. The Sunday School Superintendent got up to make the presentation...
     Wait a minute... My heart stopped! He was reading the wrong name! Oh no! What had happened? All my work and something was very wrong. 
     Everyone was looking at me and smiling! Why were they smiling? Everything was going wrong. Then Jerry said, "Come on, they're waiting for you!" 
     "What? No, it's not me, it's ... " Oh no, what's happened? I can't be the one...I was on the committee! I'd never been so confused.
     Jerry was pulling me along and we were walking up to the front of the sanctuary! Our children were following. That is, all except my baby who was in the nursery. Oh man! What was I supposed to do: cry, smile, run the other way? (I wanted to run out of there) But I obediently walked forward, with my head down and Jerry holding my hand. (I think he knew I wanted to run.) 
     The superintendent was explaining to the congregation why I was so bewildered. To me he explained I had received the most nominations and he had taken them out before I saw them. (Oh, that was not nice.)

     Would you like to know the best part of that mixed up Mother's Day? That afternoon, our children were playing outside in the yard. I went to check on them and what to my wondering eyes...?! My children reenacting the Mother of the Year presentation! I almost cried. To my children I was Mother of the Year! That was the best gift I ever received!