Dispatches

WALK FAR: The Field

"If you want to walk fast, walk alone.
If you want to walk far, 
walk with others."

- African Proverb

Life was far from easy for Magdalene .

In the years I spent overseas I was very conscious of how much I had to learn. So many elements of everyday life were different: where to buy certain items, which side of the road to drive on or how to follow certain customs of hospitality. It can be easy to quickly label things we don’t understand as right or wrong in an attempt to keep everything in the boxes of our own cultural perspective.

Magdalene and April

I learned something about this during a visit to the home of one of my neighbors, Magdalene. For a variety of reasons, Magdalene found herself on the wrong side of many things in her family and community. Life was far from easy for her. As we walked to her home, and were still some way off, she saw us. With unashamed joy she ran to meet us, to welcome us and share food with us. For a few hours there was fellowship. Everyone who passed saw it. Some joined it, drawn in by that simple but powerful testimony of human connection.

As we prepared to leave, Magdalene kept thanking us. I asked her what she was thanking us for. What had these few hours meant to her? She said simply, “You came!” And I started thinking about that. We were not judging, not fixing, not preaching; we were in the field that day, together.

 I’m conscious of and grateful for grace in my life. I know this is one of the most needed and hardest to find gifts that we extend to each other. I think about the fields I have been in, and the ones I hope to be in. Meet you there!

APRIL FOSTER is director of Others - Trade for Hope. In this series she shares lessons learned from her 29 years in overseas ministry.

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