by Kathie Brown
Have you ever instantly bonded with someone because you share the same passion? When that passion is to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ in a hurting world, it is amazing how quickly the Lord can unite hearts! I have a new friend because of this blurb in our church bulletin.
ATTENTION LADIES! Do you have some very lightly loved purses--you know, one or two of those really cute leather or Vera Bradley-style handbags that everyone compliments you on- - in your closet? If you knew that just the gift of that purse could teach a woman in poverty how to sew or provide a work skill to a woman who’s been through really tough times, would you be willing to donate it? For that matter, would knowing your donation of a purse could give a woman a hand up out of oppression stir you to donate a new purse? If so, WOW could really use your support!
Nediva called me soon after reading the bulletin, offering WOW her designer purses. Before WOW began hosting purse parties, I had no idea how to identify a designer purse from any other purse. As Nediva listed the purses she was willing to donate, my mind began to race; for I now know the value of designer purses! More importantly, I know the difference that purses of any value can make in the lives of the oppressed. I told Nediva of the many ministries that WOW supports with grants of money, from the Akron area to Africa.
“Knowing how the purses will be used, I’m going to give more,” my new friend responded, instinctively.
After setting a date to meet and hanging up, I was completely awestruck. I had a divine appointment to meet a new friend who wanted to bless hundreds of oppressed women with her gift!
Infected with inspiration, I was compelled to tell her story, not forgetting an agreement I made with Nediva to keep her name anonymous. It is her deep desire to give God all of the glory for the donation. Discreetly, I began to tell others about my friend and often received the same response, “Hearing Nediva’s story makes me want to give more.”
Our phone conversation was the precursor to a delightful meeting. As soon as she showed me the purses I was overwhelmed with gratitude, knowing the hope these purses promised to bring to the marginalized in my own back yard. Assuring Nediva that she has remained nameless, I mentioned that her story has been shared using a pseudonym. When she heard that others have been motivated to give more because of her example, Nediva was obviously moved. Learning that Nediva is a Hebrew name meaning generous and giving, caused tears to fill her eyes.
Contrast my conversation with Nediva to that of Jesus and the rich young ruler recorded in Mark 10. This man ran to Jesus and asked what he needed to do to inherit eternal life. Despite his commendable qualities, this man did not love God with all of his heart. He was unable to sell everything and give to the poor as Jesus asked him to do. Tragically, the rich young ruler chose his wealth over a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Nediva is now counted among my dearest of friends and joins a group called Friends of WOW. Instead of walking away from Jesus when asked to give to the poor, WOW women embrace Jesus’ command and give generously of their time, treasure, and talents. When a group of compassionate women, characterized by humility and selflessness band together, there is no telling this side of heaven what God can do through them. As one supporter has stated, with God WOW can stand for Watch Out World!