This is my friend Sarah who is a part of our church community. You'll remember her if you've followed this blog at all. You can read about her here, here, here, here, and here. She lost her boyfriend, soon to be fiance, Nato, to suicide in January. Our community went through a very dark valley with her. There was lots of darkness, anger, pain, rage, swearing, drinking, smoking, arguing, crying, some laughing, but over all fierce emotions. It wasn't pretty. All the while I had this deep conviction that we all needed to trust Sarah on her own path with God. I trusted, somehow, for her life.
A couple of months ago, she felt God's encouragement to accept an invitation to work in an orphanage in Cambodia. She accepted. This is a picture she sent of herself there, working with her specialty: children. She's a pediatric nurse that's worked in our hospital's pediatric intensive care. The doctor in Cambodia put her right to work in the midst of terrible conditions. She felt herself come alive again. She actually felt true joy returning. Here's a short note she wrote to me:
This is me in Cambodia holding a baby I found in an orphanage - much too small and scrawny for his actual age due to illness and malnutrition. I loved him, and I bought him medicine for his infections. There were many such encounters as this through my three weeks there: working in the slums providing medical care to the poor - assessing babies with swollen bellies and high fevers, children with tuberculosis, giving them what I could. This has birthed a new joy in me, a new purpose. There are many who suffer in the world. I have been one of them, and I want to serve others.
This is why I don't demand change. I trust that people, exposed to truth and love, will experience transformation if they are open and willing. No pressure. No coercion. No expectations. No plan. Just truth and love in community... a powerful recipe for change. Truth be told, we all have changed, thanks to Sarah and her tenacious willingness to be authentic, honest and raw. We watched God transform her and transform us together in the furnace of pain and the fellowship of suffering.