A Gift of Kindness

on Saturday, December 29, 2007

I was tagged by Kimber the Wolfgrrrl to do this meme which is in line with this season of goodness and cheer.

The instructions:
1) Post a note about a blogger you would like to see something wonderful happen for. Maybe one whose posts have touched your heart in one way or another. Include details as to why you admire them and what you wish for them. Be as supporting and affirming as you can.
2) Post your favorite memory around selflessness, giving, or doing for others. Something that has actually changed you.
3) As a postscript, name one thing you will actually do for someone in your life before December 31 that is born out of joy.
4) Tag 3 other bloggers who will play the game and find the spirit. Don't forget to leave a comment on their blog so they continue to share the good feelings.


Wow! This was the toughest meme that I have ever done. For this first section, I took the entire list of bloggers (more than 50) that I visit with some regularity and I mulled it over for more than a week. Finally I took a deep breath and managed to slice it down to 10. It took me a whole morning of trying to avoid making a decision and finally I narrowed it down to two and then finally one.

I wish something wonderful for Janice Thomson (Pursuance of Truth). If you visit Janice’s blog, you are treated on an almost daily basis to some pearl of wisdom or a beautiful and insightful poem; sometimes uplifting, sometimes humorous, sometimes deep and profound but always inspirational. As if that was not enough, she also treats us to a beautiful picture or painting which is an appropriate accompaniment to the prose.

Janice is clearly a person who gives of herself. She used to work as a nurse for mentally challenged adult patients. I admire all nurses but nurses doing palliative care or nurses working with the mentally challenged are in my opinion deserving even higher adulation.

In recent times though, Janice has faced a great deal of problems with uncertainty about her health and her abode. Yet, though there is an occasional acknowledgement of her problems in her blog, it is not long before she brushes it aside with more life affirming and life reveling prose. So I would like to wish something wonderful for Janice for the person that she is and for being an example of grace under pressure.

Favorite Memory Around Selflessness, Giving and Doing for Others. I have actually already shared my personal favorite memory about selfless giving (Juliet, Juliet, Wherefore Art Thou?). However, I would like to tell the story of someone else that I met. Her name is Mariliana Morales. I met her when I took part in a special study tour organized for representatives of non-profit organizations in 2005. The reason why I want to share her story is that I have always felt an empathy for prostitutes but unlike me who have done little to act on this feeling, Mariliana has put her whole life into helping them.

Mariliana was a successful business woman in Costa Rica and she was married to a successful businessman. Although a Christian, she was not an active one as running her business was her life. However, one day she just felt that there had to be more to life than being a slave to work. She turned to God in prayer for direction. Then as she was driving, she looked out and saw written in clouds in the sky, the word “Prostitutes”.

She pondered and wrestled with her vision for awhile and finally told her husband that she wanted to give up her business and work amongst prostitutes and to help them. The husband was supportive but incredulous. Mariliana was in the upper echelon of society. Until then, she was not even aware that Costa Rica had prostitutes. She told her husband that she would not even know how to start looking for a prostitute.

PhotoCredit: - LGS Chowing Down on Maine's Best Clam Chowder (Mariliana -second from right)

Before long, someone knocked on her door. It was a young girl who had been physically abused by a client and was on the run looking for sanctuary. It was the defining moment. Mariliana did not hesitate but took her in. Her first prostitute.

She went on to look for a place to house prostitutes, protect them from their pimps, provide re-training for another job, take in their children and give them education. Thus was founded the Rahab Foundation on November 12th 1997. In the first month alone 30 prostitutes found their way to this sanctuary. Many of them testify that they had prayed to God in their despair and had received a vision to look for the Rahab Foundation which was virtually unknown at that time.

In the last 10 years, thousands have benefited from Mariliana’s and the Foundation’s work. Today, they provide sanctuary for over 500 seeking to escape prostitution and to make a new life. Over the years, 70% of those who have come through the Foundation have found freedom to live a new life.

In my short interaction with Mariliana, I surmise her to be a strong, intellegent woman with a sharp business acumen and organizational skills but the prominent characteristic that all who have met her would go away with would be the sense of her spirit of servitude for others. She reminds me that I could do more for others too.


To do list before 31st December. Well, I plan to just come in under the wire and invite a friend who has been feeling a little down after her relationship with someone fell through to a little group caring at a gathering of old friends for a New Year’s Eve Party. She has not seen many of us for quite a while and I am hoping that our meeting will be like returning to a loving, strong and supportive touchstone.

Tagging others. I think I will have to decline tagging others as it would be unfair for them to try to do this meme before new year which is just a few days away.

23 comments:

leslie said...

What an inspirational meme, LGS. And it was so good of you to really think things through before actually posting it. I totally agree with you about your choice of Janice - her poetry and art is so thought-provoking and hits home more often than not. And Mariliana sounds like a saint! What a wonderful vision she had that led her to a selfless life of helping others in need. Wonderful post!

Janice Thomson said...

Calvin I was by earlier but was so overwhelmed I did not know what to say. What kind, considerate and caring words you wrote. I am flabbergasted actually - there are so many out there who are far more talented than I and more deserving of this.
It was an exceedingly delightful surprise and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Beyond that I am at a loss for words....

Happy New Year to you and may 2008 be the best one yet.

Thank you also Leslie for your sweet words.

jmb said...

Hi LGS,
What a wonderful job you have done with this meme. Janice is indeed a treasure and I look forward to visiting her every day. I did not know she was a nurse but I was aware of her serious health issues.

Thanks also for introducing me to Mariliana, who is giving help in an area that many pretend does not exist.

I would like to wish you a very Happy New Year and may everything go well for you and yours in 2008.
regards
jmb

CresceNet said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
CS said...

That's a great story about Mariliana. What a big heart. Hope your New Year's gathering with friends is wonderful.

heiresschild said...

beautiful tributes to Janice and Mariliana, LGS. peace and blessings to you for a healthy and prosperous 2008 New Year!

sylvia

Claire said...

And you are a prince among men, LGS. You never fail to provide inspiration. I'm glad you had a good Christmas.

Jocelyn said...

That Mariliana is amazing.

Her story caps off the year for me at this blog--a year of reading inspirational, positive, wonderful things.

Odat said...

What a beautiful post! Inspiring.

Happy New Year to you and yours!

Peace

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

leslie,
I guess I should have said that I wish all my readers (including you and your daughter) something wonderful for the new year and something a bit special and wonderful for Janice. Mariliana is special because she is like you and me. She has her vices and likes to be pampered but she subjects it all under her desire to serve those trying to flee prostitution. I think that pricks my conscience even more.

janice,
In all sincerity, I do wish you something wonderful for the new year.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

jmb,
Janice is also like my daily dose of inspiration. Were you a nurse or doctor too? Have a blessed 2008.

cs,
I am glad you enjoyed reading about Mariliana. I had a good New Year's Eve gathering even though that person I was hoping to invite had to travel and was not there. May 2008 bring you happy surprises and blessings.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Sylvia,
thank you for your kind words and new year wishes. May 2008 be a blessed year for you too.

claire,
I hope you had a great Christmas too and thank you for your incredibly generous words. may 2008 bring you much blessing and happy surprises.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

jocelyn,
Thanks for such encouraging words. I feel so rewarded that you have found my humble blog to be a source of inspiring articles and stories. Have a grrreat 2008.

odat,
Thanks for brightening my comments page with your sweet words. Peace to you and a blessed 2008.

Open Grove Claudia said...

What a delicious story! Thank you for sharing your friends, your life. Your avatar is clearly here in the Colorado snow - not Malaysia!

My goodness, though, after the year you've had, I think you deserve really wonderful things in 2008. That's my prayer for you!

Blessings in 2008

meggie said...

Another great post. Thankyou for introducing us to Mariliana. What a wonderful person.

Happy New Year to you & your Family.
I look forward to reading you in 2008.

MedStudentWife said...

Big hugs & happy 2008,LGS. Peace and happiness to you and your family:)

Margaret said...

That was so sweet I love how you did this meme.

Happy New Year LGS to you and yours.

patterns of ink said...

Calvin,
It has been a pleasure getting to know you this year. May 2008 be full of many more experiences and memories.
Happy New Year!
Tom

Dave said...

I just want to take this opportunity to thank you for taking the time to offer your condolences and giving me the encouragement that I needed at this time. I hope you have a Happy New Year! :-)

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

claudia,
It's been hot here. Don't mind a little snow. Thanks for your comments. It has been a challenging year for me. I appreciate your thoughts and prayers.

meggie,
It's been good to get to know you after we got over the fact that I can't understand quilting. Have a great 2008.

msw,
Many thanks and best wishes to you and Fidel for 2008.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

margaret,
A very happy new year to my favorite donkey. I've enjoyed your posts this last year and look forward to more.

tom,
Thanks. May you experience God's rich blessings for you and your family this new year.

dave,
We both had a similar experience this year. May 2008 be a better year.

eastcoastdweller said...

Sounds like you were given quite a challenge and came through splendidly. I agree with your selection of Janice -- She is deserving!

May I request that you repost this on FLOW, since both of your choices are admirable Ladies?

Zorro said...

Hello, I'm interested in Mariliana Morales BerrĂ­os' work in Costa Rica. The link that you have to her site doesn't work anymore and I was wondering if you have an updated one.

I've worked in Central America in missions and have been following the trafficking scene and would like to contact Mariliana to see how we might be able to help in her work.

Thanks

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