When she learned that her host family included two pastors for parents, Nadja called us from her home in East Germany. “I want you to know that I don’t believe in God,” she said. We assured her that we would never expect or pressure her to attend worship. But on her first Sunday with us, Nadja chose to attend worship, perhaps out of curiosity. She did not miss another Sunday during that year.
As we prepared to wish Nadja Godspeed at the end of the year, a woman in the congregation suggested making Nadja a quilted wall hanging to take home to Germany. “Every day when she gets out of bed, I want Nadja to see a visual reminder of the people of God at Immanuel who pray for her, and to remember that God dearly loves her.” The quilt includes screened photos from Nadja’s year in Lake Geneva. At the center appeared these words: “For I know the plans I have for your, says the Lord, plans to give you a future with hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).
We have entrusted Nadja’s future to God. We remain her encouragers from a distance, as members of the body of Christ. Who are you encouraging from a distance? Who is encouraging you?
This message is adapted from a stewardship devotion written by Mary Ann Moller-Gunderson for Women of the ELCA in 2003.