Sacrificial Love

Written by Mariah Neilson. Photo by Maggie Langdon.

Mother Teresa is an iconic figure of what sacrificial, servanthood looks like. Even she recognized that it was not her love and her service but God’s through her. At first, I assumed God would give me strength and that his love would show through me automatically, and that I wouldn’t need to seek Him.

While reading Finding Calcutta by Mary Poplin, I became excited for this awe-inspiring rush of God’s love to fill me and pour out of my work. Did you catch that? My work. This things I was going to do. The diapers I would change. The mouths I would feed. The good deeds I would do. It was going to be about what I would bring to offer.

On my first day of serving, I was handed a baby boy, who was about a year old. He was unresponsive to words or touch, but his eyes scanned the roof and never made eye contact. After prayer, the volunteers sang Jesus Loves You to the children and listened to worship music. I rocked the little boy I was holding and I prayed that God would help me love this boy. I prayed that God would be the one serving, not I.

After 45 minutes his hands began to reach for mine and squeeze them slightly.

I had prayed that God would show this little boy how much he was loved. And I believe God did. It was amazing to see God’s love everywhere I looked. I completely believe that it is because the sisters are continually in prayer with each child or person they serve. They ask God how he wants to love the person they are focused on.

God worked through my disobedience, He worked through my wandering heart. But it does not give me the right to justify walking away from His presence and expecting God to still work.

Loving on Didi

Written by Katryna DaCosta.

The first day of serving I was at Nirmal Hriday also known as Kalighat, the Mother Teresa house for the destitute and dying. I was guided by one of the sisters into a seat next to an older woman with buzzed-cut gray hair, smooth brown wrinkly skin, black and pink streaked nail-polished fingers and was a little chunkier than many others. I called her Didi, sister in Hindi. I helped her with arm exercises, smiled at her a lot and talked to her. She got tired of the exercises and the weight of her hand and arm were now placed on my left knee.

Her friend across from us moaned and struggled to avoid pain. In that moment of seeing her friend struggle, she trusted the weight of her pain onto me. She squeezed my hand tightly and shifted much of her weight onto me. She relied on me that I would support her and not let go. I learned that the best thing I could do as her friend yelled and cried was to love her by squeezing back, smiling and speaking words of encouragement. I let God work through me.  He allowed me to love on her and stay strong for her, as He held me up as I held her up. Without His grace and presence I would have been lost. I would have expressed the sorrow I felt for her.