A Woman and a Ring

A Woman and a Ring

As many of you know, I’ve been invited to go to Thailand for a three-year stint in Bangkok.  I’ll be working with the Church of Christ in Thailand, the same organization my parents worked with years ago, in their 34 years as missionaries.

So many are being supportive and prayerful in all of this—the leadership of the Upper Midwest Region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the members of the congregation at Elkhart Christian Church, where I’ve just finished serving for over 8 years, my colleagues in this region as well as across the country and the world, my new friends and mentors at Global Ministries, and you, my friends, who are reading this letter and supporting me in so many ways.

This is God’s work, and I’m so grateful for all who are traveling with me in it.

The latest news is that 80% of my first year’s financial requirements have been met, so let’s rejoice in that!

For those of you who are planning to send support, please consider doing it soon. You can give easily online or by check, just make sure to write my name in the appropriate line.  The folks in Bangkok tell me my desk is already piling up with work (no joke!).

I just wanted to take a moment to share a story from this past month that reminded me that God is with me in this exciting journey.

For a number of reasons, I’ve just moved to the Christian Conference Center here in Newton, Iowa, from the parsonage I lived in for 8 years. I’ve been in the process of packing to move for a couple of months now, and let’s just say that it’s not one of my strengths.

I can empathize with the Biblical prophets, who so often said, “But I’m no public speaker!”  Or, “But I’m only a farmer of grapes!”  Or, “But I’m too young!”

Okay, maybe I can’t empathize with that last objection.  Yet I can certainly say, “But I’m no good at moving!”

Nevertheless, some weeks back I was setting aside a few things to send to my brother’s family in Nebraska, for safe-keeping—things that have particular meaning and value to me.

As I put together some pieces of my mother’s and grandmother’s jewelry, I realized I couldn’t find a special ring—one that my parents had given me for my 21st birthday (sometime in the previous century).  I must have looked through my things a dozen times, and never found it.

I mentioned that ring to a number of dear friends who were helping me pack (and to divest).  I even jokingly said something about it to the movers, who were very kind and gracious, but who never saw it.

I thought that perhaps this could be a lesson to me, that “you can’t take it with you.”  And that’s so true right now.  I’ll be traveling light as I go to Thailand.  That’s just a necessity for any missionary.

The very first night at the conference center, I was going through boxes, trying to find things like my laptop cord and my printer, and I found a small box of things from my dresser. I knew that my friend Connie had packed it, and that she had searched for my ring, just as I had done. I thought I would check through these things one last time, and guess what?  It was there.  My ring was in a little box I had combed through more times than I can count. 

I couldn’t help but wonder if this was how the Woman felt as she searched for the coin in Jesus’ story?  I had a deep feeling of blessing—as if I could see that God knows even the small things in my journey, and has an eye on them and me.

I’m conscious, and even a little embarrassed, that a piece of jewelry would mean so much to me, in a world where so many are wondering about their next meal.  So I tell this story with some hesitation. But it has made me glad.  And I’m going to take it as a testament to the adventure I’m starting on, and I am so deeply appreciative for all of you that are joining me in this journey.

Meeting a critical presence request by the Church of Christ in Thailand, Anne Gregory was approved as a missionary candidate to serve a full three year term working in Thailand, pending financial support for this position. To make a contribution to her work you may give online, set up a recurring gift or give by check to Global Ministries and noting that your gift is for the work of Anne Gregory.