Pratt Stelly sent me this wonderful story about how she “got off the bus and onto the mission field,” and I love the way she didn’t limit herself to bringing the Kingdom of Heaven to Richmond, Virginia. While that’s been a great way to focus our mission, it was never meant to restrict us, to keep us within the city limits.
Pratt certainly didn’t let it restrict her.
Dear Dr. Somerville:
As the year draws to a close, I want you to know that I got off the bus both literally and figuratively. But first let me back up a bit. In the spring I attended the Missions Fair in the Dining Hall. I was drawn to the darling baby hats that the SKEINS group knit and sent to an orphanage in South Africa. I have not knit in quite a while, but I figured I would give it a try. I was given a pattern right there on the spot and stopped to buy yarn on my way home from church! I knit 10 hats before I left for China to visit my son in June.
And this is where I got off the bus. While you want to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to Richmond, Virginia, I feel like we should bring the Kingdom of Heaven wherever we are in the world. I took my hats to Tibet in hopes of finding an orphanage, but could not find one that took babies. And then I had a thought, why not give the hats to needy people I passed on the street. Words cannot describe my joy in seeing the appreciation in the eyes of the child and parent. While we did not speak the same language, we shared the feeling of love for one another, and that is what it is all about.
The picture and movie clip attached were taken at a roadside pit stop on our way back from Mt. Everest. I spotted this little girl who was with her mother selling trinkets by the road. They were very poor and there was little hope for this child to have a normal life. While I could not take her home in my suitcase to give her a better life, I could give her a hat and say a little pray over her. Just looking at her in the pictures and video have made this mission worthwhile, and I will cherish her little smile as long as I live.
So thank you for getting me off the bus and I will continue to knit and give hats wherever I am.
It was Mother Teresa who said, “Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love.”
I think Pratt has shown us how.
Bonus Reel: Here’s a creative and funny video someone made of Pratt’s China adventures, including the episode with the little girl and the hat. Priceless!