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EVERYONE COUNTS

11 May EVERYONE COUNTS

I was sitting in the café about 8am, reviewing some emails while waiting for my bagel with bacon, when a woman stepped over to my table and asked if I had a few minutes. I told her I did, so she sat down. She was dressed in many layers of warm clothing, and told me she had gone to work that morning like normal, but when she arrived she noticed no one was there. She eventually found someone there who confirmed there wouldn’t be work that day. So she had come over to our café, with no prior experience visiting it.

This lady is about 55 years old, very well spoken, with long blond-greying hair, and looks like she could be Swedish. She asked me if I knew anything about the vision was behind the development of Tierra Vida! So I told her that originally the vision was to support the dream of immigrant families who had worked with a specific farm in the area for years, to become first- time home owners in the U.S.

That’s when she began to tell me about her story. She had been born and grew up in this state. She has been married a couple times, but both had ended, the last in domestic violence. She had been a bus driver for the school district for years, but when students began repeatedly and disrespectfully acting up on the bus, she eventually quit.

Then she actually became homeless for a while. Eventually she was helped to find temporary housing. She went to work for a fruit and vegetable processor. However, she noticed that most everyone there speaks another language. She noted that often, when the company needs to communicate with its employees, they sometimes forget to repeat the message in English. She expressed feelings of being left out; passed by; ignored in her own country, as if now, being American means one speaks another language than English.

Although that lady could be me, I don’t spend much time with folks like her. I believe that God brought her in, to remind me again, that everyone counts! Even the white folks. And anytime people are feeling ignored and disconnected, there is our opportunity to express the love of Jesus as we stand in solidarity with them in their terrible loneliness-until they know in their souls that they too are loved-and home.

CHERYL BROETJE