Finding Inspiration in a Glass of Milk
When my father was born in Qingdao, China, Grandmother had a hard time breast-feeding, and Dad was losing weight. So a message went to the missionaries to the south that the babies up north needed milk. Apparently all food that the American missionaries ate came from the U.S. because they did not know which food was safe and which was not. Food had to be ordered 18 months ahead of need because of shipping time. Obviously one does not anticipate the birth of a baby 18 months ahead.
So the children of the south gave up their milk for the babies of the north. It is a story I had heard again and again during my childhood.
Just a couple of years ago while spending time with Mom at Sunnyside, one of our Presbyterian homes in Harrisonburg, Virginia, I joined her for dinner with a bunch of others in the dining room. As the server took orders, there was a woman on the other side of the table from me who ordered a glass of milk. Someone made a joke about wine versus milk and she said, “When I was a kid in China, we did not have milk. We sent our milk north for the babies. Ever since then I have loved having milk with my dinner.” I immediately got out of my seat, went around the table, grabbed her hand and said, “Thank you! I want you to know that because you gave away your milk, I am here. Thank you!”
I explained the history, and she and I hugged in amazement. Who knew that a glass of milk given so long ago could make such a difference? It did for me, and I was grateful to be able to say thank you!
Barbara Chalfant, Associate Presbyter for Mission, Presbytery of West Virginia
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PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Let us pray
God of mercy and grace, we pray that the stories of our lives will be songs of truth and light that honor your name, for the sake of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.