When I first met Rachel, I remember being struck by her elegant British accent, gentle spirit, and generous heart. She was a well-educated accountant from Pakistan with a close family. Her working parents had made tremendous sacrifices to ensure that all their children received formal educations and were able to support themselves. In fact, her father lived in Abu Dhabi, where he could support his family as a driver, traveling back to Pakistan for visits only 2-3 times per year.
Rachel had recently come to the States in an arranged marriage. Unfortunately, her husband had not been honest with her during their courtship, and after they were married she discovered he had a hot temper and was a violent and abusive spouse. One evening after beating her and dragging her around their apartment by her hair, he proceeded to strangle her to the point she was certain she would not survive. Her 9-month-old son, Jacob, came to her rescue, when he told his father to stop hurting his mommy. She went to the bathroom, took a picture of her swollen and battered face, and after months of living in fear, she reached out for help. Rachel and Jacob were transferred to a safe house, and she was able to sleep at night for the first time in months.
She came to The Drake House in an effort to establish her independence and transition into the role of a single mother supporting her precious son. She was quick to get a job and her strong work ethic ensured she was a highly-valued employee. Sadly, her work visa expired, her parents (caregivers for her son) returned to Pakistan to support her sister as she delivered her first child, and her driver's license expired. This confluence of events resulted in her losing her job until she was able to renew her visa, which is not a quick and seamless process. As her time at The Drake House was coming to a close, she needed to find an option quickly.
She joined me for a service at Roswell Presbyterian one Sunday, and then retreated into a time of what she referred to as 'spiritual enlightenment' for three days. The next time we connected, she had arranged to return to the safe house, where she could work and live for free. She was excited and enthused by her next step, and she was confident she could help other women who had endured similar fates. I have no doubt that Rachel's generous and gentle spirit will be a blessing to all of those she encounters. Her fortitude was tested in ways that are difficult to even contemplate, and her strong faith enabled her to overcome her situation, and she marched on. She is a peaceful warrior and a strong survivor.
God, please help us remain humble during our happiest times, and hopeful during our saddest moments, while opening our hearts to those with different backgrounds and life experiences. Enable us to comfort and show your love to them as they endure and overcome life's challenges. Help us remember that we are blessed, so that we can be a blessing to others. Amen.
2nd Mile for Mission is RPC's annual Mission Outreach giving campaign where every dollar goes out the door to directly benefit our local and global mission partners. Our goal for 2017 is $150,000.
For more information and to make your commitment and give online, visit www.roswellpres.org/2ndmile
You can sign-up now to receive information and updates about 2nd Mile, including the daily Prayer Journal. To receive messages via text, text @rpc2ndmile to 81010 or sign-up online to receive text and/or email notifications. The daily Prayer Journal will be posted to this Mission Outreach blog and RPC's Facebook page.