Friday, December 17, 2010

Written on my heart

"Why do I like this place so much? Why don't I want to leave?" I asked Pam as we prepared to leave Fort Wayne to come home on Sunday. "It's not like I love the city, and I certainly don't care for the weather. And I could teach ESL anywhere..."

"Oh, you know why you love it here," she replied, with the frankness only a dear, trusted friend could get away with. "There are lots of reasons, and you know their names."

Jo Lien, Michael, Moi Sang, Deborah, Thang Ngaih, Lian, Fatuma, Rahmo, San Nu, Abdis 1, 2, and 3...... The names started to scroll through my mind like credits in a movie. Yes, they are the reasons I love Fort Wayne. They are the blessings God has used this year to show me what love looks like, and to challenge me in my willingness to give and share and serve and receive with humility. Because of them, I understand more about Jesus' heart for all of us who were or are refugees, spiritually, socially, and physically, and what he meant when he said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God."

I went to Fort Wayne thinking that God's purpose for me was to love and minister to those who could not reciprocate, but I think he wanted me to see that the ability to express real love and grace are not limited to financial means, multi-linguistic skills, or social circumstances. I am so thankful for the part I have gotten to play in their lives and in the ministry of International House, but I am overwhelmed by the impact my international friends have had on me. Their lives are a testimony of God's faithfulness, and they are forever written on my heart. 

"You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts." - 2 Corinthians 3:2-3

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