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Just in Case We Ever Complain

BLOG #20, SERIES #8

WEDNESDAYS WITH DR. JOE

JUST IN CASE WE EVER COMPLAIN

AN EYE-OPENING LETTER FROM ANNA MILLER

May 17, 2017

Christina Miller,  Photo by Fernando Salazar, Wichita Eagle

One of the joys of our ministry is our interaction with people of many faiths. Some of them, over time, become cherished friends. One of them is Anna Miller of Hutchinson, Kansas. She, her husband Glenn, and her family are Amish, spiritual descendants of the Anabaptists. For many years, they owned and ran Glenn’s Bulk Food Shoppe and Gospel Book Store in Pleasantville, Kansas—and that’s how we became acquainted. Today, their large family is not only serving the Great Plains but are missionaries all over the world.

She just shared with me a remarkable letter she mailed to family and friends. I’m now sharing parts of it with you. Reason being: it’s a jolting letter than reveals a level of self-sacrifice that few Americans have ever experienced. It was written from Bangladesh:

Sit with me on Ellis’ veranda, see the multitudes! See the constant moving, 4 stories down on the street. See the rickshaws and bikes, hear the continual horns of CNGs, cars, vans, motorcycles, and on more of the main streets, also buses. There are some buses that look nice, but may have cockroaches on the loose. Then other buses that have not fared well with the very crowded streets, and certainly have not seen a body shop recently. Yet the focus is not the transportation, it is the souls, within each of the sixteen million people. Real people with feelings, with a heart, people that live with little. We are grateful for those who spread the love that makes a difference!! Do you know what someone shared is the biggest hindrance to natives? It is the squabble within our circles of “love”. So, where are we in all this? Speaking to myself, first.We are so glad that Joel and Hilda (from Kansas) live here! Hilda’s 40th birthday was yesterday. We enjoyed being a part of it! Hilda’s birthday party was a lovely celebration, 20ish people! Her nieces Christie, Hannah, and then Ellis’ family did a beautiful job of putting it together. Breakfast tortillas, the tortillas were made fresh this morning by one of the house helpers here. She makes the best, including some very good rice ones. Then fresh fruit kabobs, chocolates, punch, coffee. Kara Denlinger made cinnamon rolls. Kara is a nanny for Joel’s girls while Hilda is doing more language studies. There were neat decorations from the States. There also were cards and gifts from her home church and family. If any of those who participated could have seen or felt the warmth, the connecting of worlds for Hilda and family, they would have been very well rewarded. I do not want to ever underestimate the value of encouraging those sharing their lives in this way. Life is real and they do not live on easy street, even when their calling has been and is very clear!

I wish each of you could’ve been with us last evening. It was an evening to frame in a memory. We were invited to Rina’s (one of the house helpers) home for supper. The most gracious hospitality was given with sacrifice on their own. They live in a concrete structure, built for 17 families. The families share the cooking area of only 6 gas burners, without countertops. In the morning, there are a few hours of faucet water, otherwise it is by a hand pump. The bathrooms are not American style. I believe 3 showers are also for the whole building. There is a shared area to wash their own dishes and hand-wash all their laundry. Their own personal area is one bedroom. This is where we were served to a delicious meal. Ellis’s family and the host’s two children sat on the bed, Glenn and I were given the only seats with cushions. There was one plastic chair, one chest of drawers for the family of four, and one small, but nice, cupboard for their dishes, and supplies. They do have under the bed storage. A small stand served as a place to put our nice sparkling water glasses on. That later served as a place for our hostess to sit; otherwise she stood. She looked so happy, and was so grateful we came; as was her husband. He had a bowl and a big cup of water. He then went around the circle to pour water over our right hand which we used for eating. The left is the “dirty one” and not used for eating unless you have tableware. Glenn did eat with a spoon or a fork. A towel was also passed to wipe our hands. They placed the serving bowls of food on a tablecloth on the bed. They served rice, delicious cooked vegetables seasoned with salt and tumeric, and meat made in yogurt, very good as well! Lynita filled our plates. While we were eating, her husband went to get a large bottle of cold Sprite. Then, after we were finished eating, they again, did the rinsing of our right hands since there was rice on them. The bottle of cold Sprite was a very good finishing touch! Here the hosts don’t eat, although their children do, until the company leaves. The bedroom is maybe 10′ by 10′, concrete walls, clean, but needs paint. Do you feel rich? Please do, you are!

 

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So next time you and I complain, let’s re-read these lines and realize how incredibly blessed we are!

Anna, in a personal letter, said that she and Glenn took with them on this 24,000 mile trip copies of Christmas in My Heart 25, My Favorite Angel Stories and My Favorite Miracle Stories to give away as gifts to family and friends.

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