I’d like to blame it on the complexities of cross-cultural ministry, or on how hard it is to daily work with people who have never had any structure in their lives. But the truth is, I’ve always been easily distracted and overwhelmed by size of the work I’ve chosen.
Missing the opportunity right in front of me for the worry of the big picture is not novel for me.
I can say, however, that I have improved at being in the moment and continue to learn how to experience real life up close in the passing moments.
This month instead of telling the stories of the overwhelmingly big forests in our lives like the new campus for 2nd Mile and Vida Plena, increasing our team size, new contracts, etc., I want to just tell a few stories from my life this week as I stopped to enjoy a few moments.
Some of you know that we’ve been training the Vida Plena artisans to make jewelry for BelKai. As you might imagine, the process hasn’t always been smooth as the women’s home environment from birth is generally disorganized and dirty, and the resin-based jewelry they’re making at Vida Plena requires a very clean environment, a close attention to detail, and order.
So here’s the shareable moment:
I popped open my laptop and showed the ladies an Instagram video post of BelKai’s jewelry bar in Ft. Wayne. They were initially bored, or started to roll their eyes as I began yet another lecture on what their jewelry should look like when they’re done…. UNTIL they noticed that the jewelry on display on my computer was made by THEIR hands. They stared in disbelief and made comments like
“Look ! I made that one!”
“These are for sale in AMERICA?”
“I had no idea we could do this!”
It was an unexpected gift for all of us.
Tuesday I was on my way out to pitch a new local potential client interested in partnering with Vida Plena. Those of you who know me well know the pace I usually run around at. I was somewhere between a walk and run to my car carrying 15 things, a pencil behind my ear, phone buzzing in my pocket….
When I noticed it was lunchtime and all the ladies at Vida Plena were eating in the workshop next door. I stepped in to let them know I’d be back in an hour or two. What I found made me smile all the way to my appointment. I saw a family. They were laughing. They were sharing the food they’d brought. A couple of them were in a mini food fight. I left feeling grateful that God had given them the opportunity to feel like they’re a part of a family.
I mentioned that Nick with Talking Dog Film visited us here a couple months ago to make short video stories of the women currently learning and working at Vida Plena. I had the chance to review the stories this week. I was watching Alicia describe her new in-home small business that she started and something she said stopped me. “God has done a miracle in my life”. I realized in that moment that we are right where we’re supposed to be.
We’ll be posting their video stories once a week on social media, but if you can’t wait, they’re all right here.
The last moment to share is of Amber and Kevin Gelbaugh. They are 2nd Mile Missions and Vida Plena advocates, supporters, enthusiasts, and prayer warriors. When Amber visited a couple years ago she asked me who I’d like her to pray for. I told her Orancia and Nancouche who were at that time giving us the most trouble. It’s been a bumpy road, but I believe that God has heard and blessed Amber’s intercession on their behalf. Orancia is a regular at our sewing program and is nearly ready to take one of our machines home on loan to start her own business. Amber had the chance to spend some time with her and watch her almost 2 year old son while she showed off her sewing skills. Amber also had the chance to learn how to sew a face mask from another young woman in the class, Sonia, who has already taken a sewing machine on loan and is now beginning to produce sellable home and kitchen goods (apons, hot holders, tea towels, bathroom sets, etc.). Sonia’s mother? …. Nanouche. I’m always in awe of how God works.