My Friend, Bev

Have you ever had a close friendship with someone whom you never actually met? That’s kind of weird, right? But then again, maybe not, in this technology-driven world we live in. Romances are started and ended all the time over the airwaves of the internet.

But I’m not talking about romance here. I’m talking more about old-fashioned penpals. Handwritten notes and gifts in the mail.. and yes, plenty of emails and texts in there as well... and shared prayers and dreams that morph into a kindred spirit connection that nourishes you in the depths of your soul.

 

I have a penpal like that. Her name is Bev, and honestly, I don’t remember how this even started. I think I ran across her blog when it was linked to another blog I was following. I read her story and it just resonated. For starters, she’s about my age (mid-fifties), she lives in North Carolina (one of my favorite places on earth), and she loves Jesus. But what really drew me in was her story of the unlikely chain of events that led her to start a non-profit that funds a small Christian school in the Middle East.

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I love stories of midlife, empty nester moms who are brave enough to get way outside of their comfort zones and start something new and exciting and challenging. Especially when those new endeavors have eternal value and are about something so much bigger than themselves. These women challenge me and inspire me to go beyond my little life in Celina, Texas and to look at the world through a larger lens.

In Bev’s case, her second calling started when she had major foot surgery in 2012 and was forced to be off of her feet for a few weeks. During that time of quiet listening, she heard God’s gentle prodding to start a blog. She began faithfully sharing her encouraging insights and, week by week, month by month, her online community expanded to include readers from all over the world.

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One of her blog followers was Anosh, a young teacher in the Middle East who also loves Jesus (which is absolutely against the law in his country and punishable by death). Anosh has a heart for the children in his community – many of them orphaned, trafficked, and living in extreme poverty. He had started a small Christian school in his home. He was feeding and teaching and caring for a growing group of kids.  He had no special means or funding. He was simply giving what he had.

Bev and Anosh started an online friendship. She decided to send a little bit of money to help with the school, which led to a little more and a little more. Every gift was met with extreme gratitude and receipts showing how he had used it and pictures of the kids reading their new books or wearing their new clothes. His waiting list for his home school was growing and he was running out of room.

Photos Property of: Redeemer Academy

Photos Property of: Redeemer Academy

About this time, Bev had another foot surgery. Again, God spoke to her in her quiet solitude. This time, the prompt was to start a non-profit to help fund Anosh’s work so that he could move into a larger facility and bring in another teacher and more kiddos who just needed to be fed and loved and shown that they matter.

So here she was at 52, with zero experience starting or running a non-profit – but she said Yes.


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"So here she was at 52, with zero experience starting or running a non-profit – but she said Yes."

 


Since then, Redeemer Christian School has expanded to 52 students (with 20 more on the waiting list), 3 teachers and a security guard. Bev’s non-profit, Redeemer Christian Foundation, supports the school and has supplied them with computers, supplies, Christmas gifts, and even an SUV! And you know what? Bev doesn’t keep a dime for herself.

THIS is the story that drew me in. Bev has since become a close friend. No, we haven’t yet met in person, but we’ve shared MANY conversations through emails, texts, phone calls and snail mail. Her courage and compassion inspires me to dream big, creative, world-changing dreams.

Who in your life inspires you to dream big or to think in a broader perspective?

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COMING SOON - The ladies at thespaceweshare will be hosting an outdoor fall dinner + house concert benefitting Anosh and the kids at Redeemer. Stay tuned!

 

-Jana

 

Jana Schmitt1 Comment