Open Letter to the Church – Caring for the (poor, messed up, problem laden) New Christian


Dear Church,

I’m sending you my friend. She just met Jesus.

She overflows with joy about His love for her; her conversation peppered with swear words between drags on her cigarettes.

Her eyes water as she talks about her past as a lost lamb, and how God has found her. She was rejected by her own mother at age 12 and floundered in the US foster care system for years. She left and lived off the grid in Mexico and gave birth to a daughter here.

No paperwork, no legal existence, and no justice.

Taking her by the hand, we fight together in a labyrinth of offices. We need this document to get that one, and this is the fee, and your time has elapsed, so pay the fee again. Notarize and mail, and fee and fee. Will we ever find justice from the unrighteous judge before our resources are exhausted?

In the mire of offices, her daughter, who is deaf, lives in the pleasant moment with me, and a puzzle, as we wait. The little girl knows only the Mexican village where she can run free. But now is forced to wait in a tiny office. Untrained in restraint, she begins to howl, seeking mischief until the disapproving, judgmental looks force me to take her away so business can get done. (Oh, how guilty, I am Church, of these same withering looks, God, forgive me.)

Between the paperwork of two countries, we are tempted to shout in anger at the officials who sit and count their beans and check their boxes. But we stuff it inside and quietly pray for God to make their hearts like water in His hand.

When my friend gets to you, dear Church, you should know a few things. She is guilty of the worst crime of all: she is unfashionable. I know how very much you like fashion, Church. You will glance at her odd clothing after having lived in the remote pueblo for so long.

Stringy, long hair with no highlights or trendy cut. Flip flops in the winter. Teeth yellowed and too-early lines on her face, from smoking and stress. Will you take care of her for me Church? Or will you point and say, “Bad choices!” Never mothered herself, will your jaw drop as she absently allows her daughter to prance by traffic? Or will you inspire mothering like Jesus, the gentle shepherd?

You see, she just met Him. She thinks you are His children.

Please, Church, be kind to my friend. Be ever so gentle. Seek justice on her behalf. Don’t abandon her and cut the ties before she has even learned the baby steps of faith.

I’m sending her to you, Church.

Take care of her.

Missionary in Mexico

(The above Open Letter to the Church was written by a friend and missionary colleague.)

You can read more of the rescue, written by one of my mentorees, the one who began the initial rescue, at A Life Redeemed. Excerpt:

Redemption and restoration are not only spiritual realities, but when Jesus calls someone His own, He calls them out and gives them a new life, providing, restoring and establishing their feet on solid ground.

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