It’s not about where you live; it’s about how you give.
I was reminded of this again when I met a woman who worked in a small place in a small town that barely made a blip on the map – and yet through her touch an international ministry was born.
Louise owns a womens’ clothing boutique. She was driving to work on a back road one day, and noticed a middle-aged woman walking on the side of the road with her children. Something sparked inside her, and Louise prayed that she would get an opportunity to talk to that woman.
Soon after, this same woman randomly walked into Louise’s shop! She went up to the counter and asked if Louise had any work. Louise said, well, what can you do? The woman replied that she could cook (I must point out here, she is saying this standing in a clothing store). Louise said ok, great, I need a pizza. The woman, Khalida, went from cooking to working in Louise’s shop.
Within a couple of weeks from that first meeting, Louise found out Khalida and her children were homeless and brought them home to live with her and her husband. At that point, Khalida was a Muslim. She had been raised in Islam and despite a horrific upbringing (for many reasons), was still stout in her faith.
But over the next two years, Khalida saw something in Louise and her family that she didn’t possess – a feeling of satisfaction not brought by money or material success. Khalida noticed how loving and kind Louise was. She became more curious about this Jesus. And one day, in the back room of the shop, while a K-Love pledge drive was playing on the radio, Khalida said ok – if you’re real, show yourself to me.
And Jesus showed up. Literally. Hear Khalida’s story in her own words in the YouTube video at the end of this post.
Since then, God has worked through Khalida to start her own ministry of reconciliation with Islams and Jews, to bring them to Christ. She has been featured in the book 10 Amazing Muslims Touched by God. She appeared on the Sid Roth “It’s Supernatural” national television show. She calls Louise “mom” and Lousie’s boys her brothers. Even though Khalida has traveled internationally and now lives in the Midwest, she still considers Louise’s house her home.
And Louise? She still owns that small place in a small town on a back road. But her compassion and stalwart faith are anything but tiny.
Louise’s love, compassion, and faith in who Khalida could be would later influence a generation. Similarly, my mom and I met a man who, although now is retired and enjoying a part-time job as a sommelier, was the first person of color to dance with the Royal Ballet of London (that’s him in the featured photo). But his road to greatness was sparked by one woman in a small studio in a small town.
Desmond lived in a podunk town where the dance studio was set up next to the 7-11. But he loved ballet. Although there weren’t any professional opportunities for that field near where he lived, his dance teacher encouraged him that he could make it. That he should go for it.
Desmond told us that her belief in him gave him the courage to pursue his dream. He left home while still a teenager, moved to Canada, and eventually got a job with a company there. It took him FOUR TRIES to be accepted into the Royal Ballet. When he did, he was the only black man in the room.
But after a successful run in London, Desmond finished out his dancing career with a renowned company in New York City. But he traces back his amazing ballet journey to that lone teacher’s encouragement.
And his dance teacher? I bet she still teaches in a small studio, in a small town…and still helps sprout big dreams.