In 1986, just two weeks after Tim and I were married, I went to Nicaragua as part of a delegation through Disciple’ Peace Fellowship. I spent 10 days learning to know some of the people of that country and the struggles they faced due to some insurgents who would come into the villages and kidnap their children and kill their husbands and fathers.
I went because I wanted to be part of a group of Christians who would share God’s love with those who suffer. I went in order to give some kind of hope to people in a hopeless situation. Being raised in the church, I had a deep sense in which my life, in part, was about giving to others and I saw this trip as a way to do just that.
You know the phrase, “it is in giving that we receive.” Well, that is precisely what happened. The people of Nicaragua that I encountered were so generous and faithful. Even though they were extremely poor, and even though they had every reason to doubt and despair, I have no doubt they gave more to me than I could even begin to give to them. They gave us the best, and in some cases, last of their food. They gave us their beds. They gave us their stories and songs. They gave us their infectious spirit of hope and faith from the depth of their soul. I left that place amazed and awed by how God’s love was alive and real and soaring. I came back and knew I needed to go to seminary.
Giving and receiving are funny things. It may start out with one of them and quickly turn into the other. Do you have stories of giving and receiving?