I walked in the door after a long solo driving trip. The phone rang. The caller ID indicated I was receiving a call from an unknown person in North Carolina.
"Hmmm," I thought, "Whom do I know in North Carolina?"
I expected it to be someone who had gotten my number from our synod office - someone from some ELCA church out there who had a question about sister church relationships with the Salvadoran Lutheran Church. "Ugh," I thought. "I am too tired to deal with this." I picked up the phone anyway.
"Ho-la." It caught me off guard, but I recognized Estella's sing-songy greeting right away. Not North Carolina, but El Salvador! "Hola!" I chirped back, and as with one hand I navigated the process of taking off my coat, greeting the dog, taking out the dog, and feeding the dog, I carried on a lively conversation with Estella.
It was Estella's daughter's birthday. This was the purpose of the call - to take a couple of moments out of the middle of an afternoon to celebrate together a little girl who was completing her second year of life. We talked about our kids, our husbands, our churches, our communities, our Bible study groups. The visit to the doctor for the two-year-old check-up that morning had gone well. The plans for our upcoming visit in El Salvador were moving along on both fronts. Three times during the conversation, Estella said, "I love you so much. You and all the friends from our sister church. You have made such a difference in our lives - for me and for my children. May God bless you and keep you and watch over you. I pray for you every day."
This was so much better than a call from North Carolina (no offense to any North Carolinian fans out there.)
Estella made me promise to call our pastor to thank her again for baptizing Estella's daughter during our last visit in El Salvador. "Tell Pastor Jennifer that her little girl is healthy and is turning two years old today. Tell Pastor Jennifer to remember the baptism. Tell Pastor Jennifer that we give thanks and pray for her every day."
Thank you, Estella, for taking the time to call, for your love and your prayers. You have made such a difference in our lives, for me and for the brothers and sisters in your sister church. May God bless you and keep you and watch over you. We will do our best to pray for you every day.