This isn’t my first day with Aunty, but a day where I really conceptualized how precious days like these were.Many wonderful days have preceded this one, but today I feel like all my days with such a great woman should be recorded. So the journey begins..
It started early for her, 4:30 a.m. to be exact where she boarded her cancelled flight from the previous day to meet me in Ottawa.
She arrived at 9:09 a.m. and excitedly called to tell me she had landed… which is quite normal– she’s always extremely thoughtful.. Then at 9:45 she comes through border control with security to tell me she’ll be a little longer because her baggage didn’t arrive. I laughed…. it’s just like Aunty to get special privileges. You can’t help but love her… ask any stranger.
As the day lingered and laughs ensued I tried to convince her to go shopping with the money the airline allotted to her… She was convinced that United would bring her bags and as any faithful customer would, she waited… and waited… and waited. After many phone calls, lunch.. and coffee, she relented and we went shopping.
She had been in the same clothes for 60 hours due to cancelled flight and lost luggage, yet the first thing she suggested to buy was gifts for her family… not even her necessities. I love this woman. — Not because of how much she’s sacrificed that has helped thousands of people— but because she doesn’t sacrifice to simply sacrifice… That’s who she is. It’s real. It’s genuine…it’ s Christ’s love manifested in a beautiful 86-year-old woman.
It’s the amazing missionary’s wife(Mark Buntain) who traveled with her husband in 1954 to sacrifice years of service to the Indian people that began in Calcutta. It’s the woman who helped found a feeding program that today feeds 25,000 people a day, educates 30,000 kids a year, provides free healthcare to 40,000 people a year has planted more than 950 churches and is predominately run by national leadership.
In the midst of reading the Live|Dead journal I can’t help but connect with one of the missionaries who wrote a chapter…”The Sudan wasn’t a stretch for me. Sure it was scary going there, but it wasn’t a sacrifice. Some people, and I guess I am one of them, are naturally geared toward a more adventurous lifestyle… It wasn’t hard. I loved learning languages; To be quite honest living as an undercover missionary put me in an exclusive club of newly minted missions superstars…”
One thing Aunty kept saying today when anyone would make a “to do” about who she was, was” I’m not a celebrity. Where would we be without the national leadership? Without the church and supporters who gave? They are the people who should be in the magazines. Not me.”
As much as I’d like to think India was sacrifice for me, the last 2 years of living in my home-town has made me realize otherwise. India wasn’t a sacrifice. It definitely wasn’t what Aunty went to in 1954 where she was lucky to receive a letter from her family…
We had internet… A/C when I wasn’t in the village.. running water and restrooms for the most part and friends that made you forget everything you were living without because we loved together… India.
We loved the people, the language, the culture, the weird smells that we sometimes complained about and upon returning jumped off the plane and cried tears of joy because it “smelled like Calcutta.” That’s what I loved..
And being here in my home town the Lord has begun to deal with me in the same way as the missionary in the chapter I mentioned… two questions he asked were “Are you measuring your sacrifice by what is hard for someone else? Are you willing to be the sacrifice as opposed to making it?”
Loving the people of India was something that came incredibly easy for me. Loving my hometown- something the Lord has been teaching me. And as my heart has broken over and over again for India the Lord in doing the same for my city. The hurting are everywhere. The sick are everywhere. The lost are everywhere.
We don’t have to go far to find it…. but will we open our hearts and eyes to see people the way Christ sees them?
I joked around with my friend Brooke, because I’m dying to be back in India, but choosing to be content where God has me. So I call her and tell her things I’m thankful for in Griffin.… and then we’ll trail off to our stories of being roomies in Calcutta.
Oh the days.
My heart beats for that city, that country, and today… today was amazing…
…Because I had a little piece of the city with me all day long. (Aunty)
To read more about Aunty… visit www.buntain.org/home