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Telling the New Story

by Anne Basye

Here's a heartwarming story: An elderly woman wanted to start a new church in her Masai community of Kenya. She teamed up with an evangelist from the Kenya Evangelical Lutheran Church and together they shared the good news with her neighbors. Twenty-five people were soon ready to be baptized. The local bishop presided at the baptism, and the new congregation celebrated by holding its first party.

A woman who almost single-handedly starts a congregation: Who wouldn’t love a story like this? There’s only one small problem. When this story landed in my inbox, it only named the bishop who led the baptism. The woman at the heart of the story was not given a name. I’ve been gathering and writing stories for the church for 20 years. I love the process of interviewing and shaping our tales. But sometimes I wonder: Could our stories be better?

We are recognizing that the people we do things with are companions, not objects. And that ministry is mutual! All around the church, I see people recognizing that everyone has gifts and inviting one another to pool them in God’s service.

And then we take the microphone at a mission festival, and we tell the same old story.

Writer and editor Anne Basye tries hard to live simply, write truthfully, and remember that everybody, including her family, is God’s beloved child.

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