Tuesday, September 1, 2009


When I was nine years old my best friend Sara moved with her family to Brasilia to serve with their brothers and sister in the Baha'i faith. Their journey had a profound effect on me, as I wrote letters to Sara and learned of her experiences in another country.

Then in 1984 our dear friends, Arnold and Linda Snyder and their five (actually at the time maybe only 4) children moved to Nicaragua to work with Witness for Peace in the middle of a pretty tumultuous conflict there. I was only eleven years old, but I vividly remember the last dinner they had in Bluffton, hosted by my parents. I remember their stories too.

Both of these families had a profound effect, I realize now, on my motivation to serve, and my understanding of God's work in a global context.

I recently found a prayer of blessing that my Grossmama (Betty Heiks) wrote in honor of the Snyder's departure to Nicaragua.

"Through many years of living I have gradually become more and more thankful for a growing awareness in a mystical association, a nearness, a presence in life. I like to think, to believe, that this presence, this guardian angel, may be Nancy, or Ray, or maybe St. Peter, or even Jesus himself. I am thankful that this all-pervasive being is not only here, but in Arkansas, in Nicaragua, and will continue to follow us, to be there, in any situation, for guidance, for protection. For this I give thanks."

Remembering the courage and strength of these family friends, and the words of my dear Grossmama to bless them.


  1. Jen, thank you for this unexpected gift. It spoke right to me. I have been thinking of that time often as you share your own experiences now, and feeling inspired by what you are doing, too. Many of the difficulties, the transitions made to the new culture, the kids' school, your experiences trying to connect--these all sound familiar to me. But I also want to tell you: that time in my childhood was utterly formative, beautiful, colourful, an adventure of a lifetime, and I remember it with joy and gratitude always. Your children are lucky children indeed.
    Love!! Abrazos! Carrie