Hello, is Anyone Out There?

In 2001 at the age of 40, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) just shortly after 9/11. I began to reflect on the first half of my life and wondered what the second half would look like. My husband Jon and I were involved with our church’s outreach ministry, Samaritan House, which centered on the commands of Jesus to love our neighbors by feeding, clothing, and caring for their needs.

Prior to this service, I really had no idea the extent to which poverty existed in our community. We had a comfortable life, both of us working professionals. Our community group did a Bible study called “Opening Your Gifts” in which I found that my gift of administration was strong, but my mercy gift was not. It actually hurt my heart (and my pride!) that mercy was not my strong suit as I was raised in a household where service to others was part of everyday life! I began to pray and ask God to help me become more merciful in my interactions with others.

That opportunity came in 2002 when I went to lunch with three gentlemen from our church who shared that Samaritan House was to become an independent, faith-based non-profit organization, and they thought I would be an ideal person to lead the new entity (aka my strong administration skills/gift). I jumped at the opportunity to leave behind the stress of the business world and to help change the face of NWA for those who lived in poverty!

What I learned those first few years (and still see to this day) is that the real change that needed to happen was IN ME…. I needed to know and understand that wealthy people can still be poor (in spirit or in relationships). I needed to witness that the hurting and hungry were generous and kind, often willing to go without to insure their neighbor had something to eat. I needed to observe that people who in their grief or pain could encourage one another from a point of empathy (not sympathy).

I have always wished I could share the beauty of the relationships that have been formed with people whose lives and experiences are nothing like anything I have ever experienced. Not to mention the humbling things I have been taught through those relationships. And I guess that this blog is a way in which I can do so. And by the way, I recently retook the spiritual gifts inventory and my mercy score is on the rise? LOL


By Debbie Rambo, SCC Executive Director

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