Like something from an old black and white TV show, their faces look young and vibrant. Their large print dresses must have been a kaleidoscope of color. But the black and white echoes that most have gone home to the Lord. It seems so odd to think that women would gather on a Monday night once a month to pack a missionary barrel to go to India. One of their own was helping lepers in India. Karin and I would take torn sheets and roll bandages. I often wondered about the person whose wounds would be bound by the fruit of our labors.
These women made quilts to cover the lepers while I was rolling bandages. Before the night was over, several quilts would be finished. A page from LIFE magazine served as a pattern. Colors and texture were blended and pinned together on those pages. A zip through the sewing machine and a quilt was finished in hours. Once the bandages were rolled, the quilts lovingly folded, the barrel filled, and prayed over, it was time for dessert and coffee. My mouth waters to think of that spread of Norwegian waffles with butter and jam, or boller, or a cake. The coffee was strong. If the confections were not enough to sweeten your mouth, lump sugar was available, as was thick real cream.
|Lillian Olsen is sitting on the right. My mother (standing) and Judith went to her |
stateroom to bit her bon voyage as she returned to India.
When I think of missionaries, I also think of my cousin Ruth. She answered a call to Swaziland. We had cloth table scarf in our living room that said Swaziland. It had pictures of men in a loin cloth and a spear. Once a week when I’d move it to do my weekly chore of dusting, it reminded me that my dad’s niece was telling children about Jesus. My father would collect old Sunday School material (including mine), old Christian magazines, and anything that told the gospel. They would be lovingly and prayerfully rolled, covered with brown paper, tied with string, and taken to the post office for a long journey to Africa.
I wonder about those children who read my old Sunday School lesson. I wonder about those with leprosy whose limbs were covered with those bandages. So much has changes since those days so very long ago. One thing hasn’t changed. Missionaries still travel to the remote places of the world ministering love and compassion in the name of Jesus. Pray for a missionary today.