Rula has taken most of the responsibility for the three ladies who make up our cleaning team. Two of the ladies are new to the team and one is a real gem—she works hard and has great initiative. Despite having a deformed hand due to some incident with electricity in the past, there is very little that she will not at least attempt, and usually succeed, in doing.

From the time she joined us, she wore a black plastic watch. She would often adjust it while we were chatting and would regularly check it for the time. Then one day she wasn’t wearing it. Because she is responsible for cha-making (making tea for everyone at morning and afternoon tea time), it’s important that she knows what the time is. On the day when I first noticed she wasn’t wearing her watch, she received quite a fright when, in response to her asking what the time was, we told her it was just 15 minutes until cha time. She gave a little scream and scurried off to complete cha preparation.

It was then that Rula informed me that the watch didn’t actually work; it never did. Regardless, this pint-sized whirlwind had been wearing and checking it, proud to have such a possession and to be able to tell the time, even though she had to rely on timepieces other than her own watch. My suspicion is that she had been quietly asking people for time checks throughout each day.

Rula and I immediately concocted a plan to help our friend tell the time more easily. We couldn’t purchase a watch for her because that would cause discord with others. Instead, we found a wall clock which had not been in use for some months, installed a new battery, and gifted it to the cha-making kitchen. The result was one very happy cleaner/cha-maker. She appeared at my door, her face wreathed in smiles and full of effusive thanks.

It struck me how small things can make such a difference to a person’s life. Overlooking the watch that doesn’t work and instead gifting a tool to give some independence and make the day easier. These small things are often what those outside of the faith, or new to it, notice.

From Jo in South Asia

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