“Seed Stories: Part IV”

Steve’s note: Maybe readers have been quiet and contemplative after reading these stories of the Spirit’s work around the world, but I just want to remind you that your reflections/first impressions of these “Seed Stories” are more than welcome in the comments section. Not forced, but welcomed. Now be challenged by this week’s batch of examples of Christians “becoming flesh” in North America and around the world.

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Barbara’s Story

The death of a friend can change your life. When one of Barbara’s closest friends took his own life, this gentle young woman’s spiritual search deepened. Her journey after his death would eventually lead her to the truest form of life she could have ever imagined.

Barbara was born in Angola as civil war tore the country apart. Her parents decided it would be safest for their children if they returned the family to Portugal, a “home land” that had long ago ceased to be home to them. In the northern city of Porto, Barbara grew into a quiet, spiritually sensitive woman with an out-of-the-box take on life. Though she was a strong student, Barbara eventually dropped out of her accounting course at university, knowing that she would never fit into the corporate world of the status quo.

Comfortably established within a small community of spiritual seekers, Barbara explored the world of psychedelic drugs and searched the spiritual realm for meaning.

And all during these years, Barbara had the strong impression that a gentle presence was near her.

Her many probing questions sent Barbara on a journey around the world that culminated in an extended stay in India. Here she encountered more of the “presence” that she knew to be good. She did not find it in the Hindu, Buddhist or Islamic communities. Rather, she found it alone in nature as she gazed on the beauty of the world.

Sensitive to leading, Barbara found herself being “directed” back to Angola during her visit to India. But during her time back in Portugal between trips, Barbara’s best friend committed suicide. The loss was shattering and it stirred in her more desire to find “something out there” that still eluded her. Barbara strongly believed she would find that something in Angola, and that when she found it, she was to bring it back to her friends to Portugal. So she set off.

This thing she was going to find had some shape to it. She had the impression it would be in a community and she even pictured it. One day Barbara discovered a community about fifteen kilometers from where she was staying that matched the look and the feel of what she had envisioned. The people there took her in and she quickly discovered that they were alive with a deep and meaningful spirituality. These people were followers of Jesus Christ and they were living out their faith in a simple, powerful and authentic way. As she began to explore the person of Jesus and His claims to be the path to God, Barbara had a confirming experience. Alone one day and talking to God, she felt strongly that He communicated to her that He, the God of the Bible, was the good presence she had sensed near her in times before. He had been pursuing a relationship with her. Barbara knew she had found what she needed to take home to her friends in Portugal.

Fast forward to today. Barbara lives downtown Lisbon in a tiny room in a little flat above a skinny road in a cramped little neighborhood. Here her heart burns with a passion to see the poor cared for, the lonely folded in, the homeless provided for, the lost found. Shunning materialism with the most beautiful grin you’ve ever seen, Barbara works for almost nothing as a gardener at a mental health facility where her warm friendship has come to mean a lot to the patients. But as she goes about her business, her dreams continue to grow.

“What if we had a big house in the city where we could allow young artists space to work and display their art? What if we had a cafe there where people could find meaningful community and conversation? What if we ran social projects out of there? What if the upper levels could house a community of those seeking to grow in their spiritual lives? What if we could be recognized as people who really care? What if church became a non-toxic word to those who have only been exposed to dead institutions? What if we threw parties for the homeless and gave presents to poor children? What if we could be a place of life?”

Barbara’s dreams build daily. And it’s contagious.

And what about today? For now, Barbara spreads the word and the love. She gives her time to help bands like RiverTribe find venues and blesses them with her tireless assistance, needing nothing in return. She pours her heart into other people’s lives, pours her time into their needs, and champions the neglected ones. B is a voice in the wilderness, calling us all to the simple priorities of Jesus. Though her big dreams for the big house of life are not a reality yet, Barbara’s daily choices are making a difference in a hurting world.

Source: Lisa Borden on RiverTribeBlog.

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