Vol 23 No 2 March 2008
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Get a taste of the missionary way of life.
It's a cold Sunday in Winnipeg, -40s with wind chill, and as I sit down to write this, I've got two pots simmering on my stove: roasted tomato soup and Greek lemon chicken soup. They're part of a big care package—including brownies and home-baked bread—we're bringing to our friends who just welcomed their second baby into the world. They are, like all new parents, adjusting to the challenges.
Whether I'm confronted with the joyous news of a new birth or a family's grief over the tragic loss of a child or other loved one, I always respond first with prayers then with soup. Everyone needs to eat, after all. And at a time when we feel helpless to lighten the load or extinguish their pain, providing a warm, home-cooked meal to those who aren't particularly focused on their own needs is how I choose to offer comfort. I'd like to think my tomato soup has healing powers, but I suspect it's the sentiment behind the soup that makes people feel so good. Selfishly, cooking for these friends and acquaintances makes me feel good, too. Giving just feels good.
While all of us do our small but important part to fill bellies and hearts, offer comfort and warmth, and share hope and prayers with those in our neighbourhood, some are thinking globally and giving back to the world as missionaries. A few offer pastoral help, some share their expertise in finance or communications, but they're all helping strengthen and build Lutheran communities in distant or remote locations. No matter what their job, these Christians have found a way to give of themselves, behind the scenes, to change the face and reach of our church, and therefore, the world.
If you've never thought of yourself as a missionary type, then maybe you should. It's regular Canadians, like you and me, who are making a difference. Missionaries don't possess a uniquely adventurous spirit or the inability to fit in elsewhere in society. They simply possess the desire to do God's work, no matter where it takes them. The couple on our cover, Margaret Sadler and Marcus Busch, are perfect examples. They've accepted two postings from the ELCIC Mission in the World program—Africa and now Cambodia. Between postings they return to their hometown of Edmonton to pick up their careers and gear up for the next leg of service. You will find their story (page 10) remarkably inspiring, and you will find the duo themselves remarkably familiar, like the couple next door. They're no different than we are. They, too, want to serve the world soup—they're just working from a much more complex recipe.
Even if you're not ready to jump a plane to Jordan or Cameroon or Colombia, I hope Margaret and Marcus' story will make you think about the opportunities your congregation and the ELCIC provide to help you serve God in unexpected ways—even within your own community. Perhaps you will get a taste for the spiritual and emotional rewards that keep people like Margaret and Marcus serving on God's behalf.
Lucia Carruthers, Editor