Friday, March 26, 2010

Hope in the midst of rubble

It was interesting meeting Kara. She was a doctor who took in an Ethiopian woman, Sara, during her last days of life. This woman was young. At age of twenty six she contracted illness which required surgery which Kara felt would heal her. Kara orchestrated donation of time and skill by anesthesiologist, surgeon, hospital, and others to bring forth the necessary surgery. Kara and her husband Robert brought her from Ethiopia to do just that. Kara called my pharmacy to inquire about pain killer for Sara since she did not have insurance or money.

Through that phone call Kara and I found each other to be sisters in Christ. I have met her and her husband Robert twice since then. Her husband Robert goes to Ethiopia to do mission work amongst the natives. Kara joins him as often as possible. Sara, in spite of the surgery and medicine made available through Kara, died about a month after I first talked to Kara.

Robert goes to Ethiopia with one hope - getting as many people as possible to receive Christ into their heart and thus change their lives. He is working on cell unit principle. Get a handful of people to receive Christ, develop a unit where they grow in Christ and help them to reach out their friends and neighbors and propagate God's life amongst people and create a new cell group. I hear now there are about one hundred sixty such cell groups. He says "the growing is happening amongst themselves. It is incredible what God is doing there." The demand for Robert's time is beyond what he is physically able to give. Right now Robert is looking for a businessman who is willing to give his time to teach these new Christians the principle of starting a business to sustain themselves. Robert finds many people in Ethiopia who is so skilled yet has no know how regarding how to capitalized in it. The country as a whole has been provided for by well meaning donations by West, people never developed the means of survival themselves.

Fusatu, one of the Ethiopian new believer of Christ told Robert that he will give his life to God. He wanted to bring many people to Christ. He wanted to go beyond his own little village. He needed a vehicle yet they do not have paved roads. Going through hills and valleys in mud or brushes are very difficult. He told God, "I give you my life savings of $5000(US) and You provide the rest for a four wheel drive." A used US vehicle would cost $22,000 and impossible amount. Government places 120% tax on such vehicles. I received an email from Kara. I felt compelled to give. Kara told me that an anonymous person volunteered to match dollar for dollar for each donation. In just one month the whole amount was raised. Fusatu is now a full time preacher bringing the good news that changes lives.

Hope in the midst of rubble

It seems ironic that when I have time and energy I am just too busy to be creative; be it writing or drawing/painting. Here I lay in bed from overworking myself and not sleeping enough in a condition called “under the weather.” So now I rest without thinking of million things that I must accomplish on my day off. My job is just to rest so that I can get back to “too busy to find time” life.

(names are changed yet stories are factual )
Hope is all around us....

In Plymouth I see Melinda. I love to work with her. She is so lively. Yet she has shadow in her life that hung heavy continually. She is surviving in loveless marriage and trying to uphold 2 very difficult teenagers through life. She just went through a major female surgery with out any insurance. Her income is very minimal and her husband is stuck in a job he hates, yet due to the down turn of economy his options are nil. She says it will take rest of her life to pay back her medical bill. After listening to update on her life I asked her what is going on with others. I have not been to Plymouth pharmacy for almost a year. She said, “JaeHi, something happened in my life. My surgery is nothing compared to this. Are you ready for this?” I was wondering what could be so dramatic. Could she be telling me that she is getting divorced? I said, “Tell me!”

End of November I got a call from Andrew. He is my half brother that I have not seen since he was a small boy. My dad left me when I was two and I visited him when I was eight. And that was the last time. I always felt that he left us because I did something wrong. Maybe I was bad, maybe I was a girl and he did not like girls. I felt so alone with the feeling that I don't belong to anyone.
My dad died and my three brothers really really wanted to tell me this. It took them some time to actually find me. When I heard I knew that I had to be there for funeral no matter what. My family met my brothers, their wives and children. I cried. Within those few days I felt like I found my family. I loved them. I love their wives and children. It was like as if I always knew them. My sister in laws would tell me that so many of my motions and speaking is just like their husbands'. Amazing! We have same father but different mothers. Since November we have gone back and forth five times and it is five and half hours of drive each way (it's only been 4 months since we discovered each other).

I asked “Did this restore your relationship with your husband?”

Yes, yes. My brothers and my hubby are like peas in a pod. They love same hobbies, they have same interests. My husband loves my brothers. We are planning to move to Illinois soon to be near them. For me if I get upset with my husband I could call my sister-in-law and I could empty out my anguish.


Last Thursday in the art studio at Goshen Painter's Guild I was moved by Yvett's story. She owned a very successful catering business at one time. Her company supplied lunch and snacks for many factories around Goshen. It was a booming business. She had over a dozen hot food delivery trucks. Now most of them are just sitting at their parking lot now. She will not sell them. She said she will get about a dime on a dollar if she wanted to sell. She was going through a very difficult time. Now she was supplying lunches for few factories and they were eliminating work force regularly. Bad economy has swallowed up what used to be booming factories. Her husband who was a critical part of the catering business had to move to Denver for a job opportunity. I also knew that for over a year that she did not collect any salary for herself from her company.I asked her how she was doing. What followed was not what I expected.

My crew came to me some time ago. They knew that I did not want to lay them off and that I would prefer to close my business. They wanted 30% pay cut until the business can stand on its own. A year ago I did have to lay off one person. They had a meeting amongst themselves. They all decided Sonya will be laid off. She is only person who still has a husband who has a job. All the others' spouses were laid off from their jobs. Sonja volunteered to be laid off. But last week I was able to bring her back to work. I always had Profit/Loss statement posted so everyone could see how we were doing. My girls are so conscientious about saving every penny. Whether it is heating, electricity, or whatever they are overly careful. My janitor, you should see how he tries to save money for the company.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

It's been a while since I last wrote. I wish I had more hours in a day. Still within me there is the need or is it the desire to accomplish maximum each day towards something.

There is work, there is painting guild I am always trying to squeeze in. Don't forget, there is grocery shopping and cooking. Oh why do we have to eat. Life would be so much simpler if we bypassed all the eating and cooking time. Then there are all the happenings at home, at work, with those around me in the neighborhood. Lizy is going to Atlanta trip and needs a new dress, or rather a nice outfit for her five day trip which includes a fancy ballet attendance. Did I send Seth the money he needed? Oh Christian, how is he doing? How is Henna and Aki going to manage our home in this fearsome economy. Today I had a whole list to accomplish. Now it is 11:30 pm and I could use about 4 more hours to write. If I don't capture those special happenings, it will be lost forever in the mist of life, just a shadow.

After watching our retirement IRA dwindle in the collapsing of financial infrastructure of the country with added damage of current administration, I decided that I should learn how this whole thing works (at least our share.) Hence I started to read, study, and try to understand this vast forest of unknown world. So after work I sit at my computer until my head hurts. Oh tomorrow I can escape to a few hours of painting with my comrades in art. Oh that reminds me that I need to submit a payment for couple of classes I want.