In the spring of 2012, Carolyn Bolz attended a Lutheran Hour Ministries workshop called "Mission U School of Witnessing." Carolyn recalled the instructor saying, "Be ready and prepared. We're surrounded by a world that is hurting." Carolyn shared the following story of an experience she had a few months later that brought home the truth in these words.
Carolyn's story ...
"Good morning, Carolyn," my hairstylist, Ana, called as she motioned me to an available chair in the salon. "How are you today?"
"Just fine," I replied. But when I glanced at Ana, I knew something was terribly wrong. Ana's face seemed pale and there were large dark circles under her eyes. Ana leaned close to me so the other customers and employees couldn't hear. "My grandmother died early this morning of a brain tumor," she whispered. "She was the one who raised me."
"Oh, Ana, I'm so sorry!" I said as I reached out to squeeze her hands. Just six months earlier, my brother-in-law, Mark, had died of brain cancer. Tears sprang to my eyes as I recalled the night he passed away, leaving my sister without a husband and my two nephews without a father. We were certain that Mark was in heaven, but it had been heart-wrenching to watch him suffer and die. Ana, I knew, was experiencing the same grief that our family had recently gone through.
"You know, Carolyn," Ana was telling me, "I stayed at my grandmother's bedside day and night all week. I just had to get out today and come to work."
"I understand," I assured her. As Ana began trimming my bangs, I thought back and could not recall her ever mentioning attending a church or having any religious beliefs. I wanted to share God's love with her and my hope in Christ, but I hesitated. Perhaps before I did that, I needed to offer Ana a listening ear.
"I'm going to miss the dichos (wise sayings) that my grandmother always told me in Spanish," Ana explained. She paused a moment to recite a couple humorous ones and smiled. Then her face darkened. "I don't want to forget all the things my abuela (grandmother) taught me."
"Oh, Ana, you won't!" I assured her. "No te preocupes. Don't worry."
A few minutes later, Ana finished my haircut. She twirled the chair around so I could see myself in the mirror. "I feel a little better after talking with you, Carolyn. Thanks for listening."
"You're very welcome, Ana," I replied. "May I give you a hug?" She nodded and we held each other tightly for a moment. "I'll be praying for you and your family," I assured her. And at my next appointment, I would be ready to share my faith in Christ with my hairstylist.
You make it possible, through your prayers and support, for Lutheran Hour Ministries to offer the Mission U program to prepare followers of Christ to reach out to the lost and hurting. This ministry is on mission for Christ every day, but we couldn't do it without partners like you!
Thanks, as always, for your prayers and support.