Friendship Inspired through a Photo

This morning I received a call from Mary, an 83 year old woman, who I have never met face to face and who lives in Parkville, Missouri. For roughly 45 minutes, we talked about our faith, Steve and my possible endeavors on the horizon, and a couple of stories from her life (for instance, she picked cotton in Mississippi as a girl).  In today’s call, she mentioned that she was re-reading our Christmas letter and was so touched by the last paragraph, which Steve penned. Could she please use it as a message to share with others in her House of Prayer Ministry? Steve was quick to say yes, trusting my friendship with Mary.

How is it that I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting Mary in person? She’s not on Facebook and doesn’t use a computer, so it isn’t as if we met through electronic media. Well, we met through a photo! In 2007 I took a photo of a cross and manger scene that graced the front yard of our Batavia friends, Bob and Lois. The December snowfall quietly came down that evening with streetlight and floodlight providing the “light” needed to bring the cross and manger its warm welcoming glow. I had been sitting at my desk on the second floor of our Batavia house, when I glanced out the window to be instantly wooed by the scene across the street. I grabbed my Nikon D-80, tripod, and remote, quickly donned my winter coat, and called Bob and Lois, “Could I please take some photos of your cross and manger scene?” I asked.

From the resulting image, I ordered a 5X7 for them as a thank you for providing this beautiful scene. In fact, they enjoyed the photo so much that they asked to use it for their 2008 Christmas card. Then in October 2009, Mary, a friend of Bob and Lois’ who received their Christmas card in 2008 contacted them for my phone number. Mary wanted permission to use my photo for her Christmas card, which I granted and provided her with the digital file. She sent out the card along with a poem that she was inspired to write about the powerful image and dozens of people now have it. As the result of her initial call back in 2009, I’ve had numerous and lovely phone calls with her.

In November 2011 she called me after an absence in contact of 18 months. Fortunately, she had my cell phone number as Steve and I had moved to Denver since our last conversation. Mary wanted to order an 8X10 and a 5X7 of the photo for her House of Prayer Ministry in Parkville. This is a ministry that she runs out of her former home on an acreage, which when rented years before sustained thousands of dollars of damage due to the tenants’ intentional vandalism before vacating. Despite her son’s initial reaction to tear the house down and start over, she and her family renovated it from the “ashes” (the tenants even went so far as to set the wood flooring on fire) and created a ministry. She found inspiration from God that she should do something special with the home. Thus, she began the House of Prayer, which provides a weekly program, a refuge for those out of work or for visiting missionaries, a library of inspirational books, and a special place for hospitality.

I thank God for inspiring me to take the photo back in 2007, for Bob and Lois in sending a card to Mary, and the building friendship that I’ve enjoyed with Mary over the last two years. She is such an inspiration as well. I may just drive through Missouri on the way back from Steph and Shane’s wedding in March. I believe it is time to meet Mary!

8 Replies to “Friendship Inspired through a Photo”

  1. Diane what a lovley story. I am so inspired by Mary’s story and yours as well. I hope you do get to meet Mary some day on this side of heaven( I knwo you will eventually meet her in heaven). If you do please take pictures of her House of Prayer ..I would love to see them. Can you post your picture of the nativity scene and cross that inspired all of this. Thank you my sweet friend for your wonderful stories.

  2. Wow sis, What a great story. You sure touch alot of people in a wonderful positive way. I am proud you are my sister. Love you, Char

    1. Thanks Sweet Sister. I am considering an overnight stop in Parkville, Missouri when I drive to Illinois. Why not take the southern route instead of I-80 and meet Mary!

      Love you,

  3. Hi Diane, I’m so happy to have found you. I love your writing and hearing about you, Steve, and your sweet family.The story of Mary is really inspiring….keep writing, you are so gifted!

    1. Dear Debbie!!
      Oh my…..goodnessssssss!! I sat here in awe, and of course cried! I cannot tell you how I’ve often wondered where you were. Recently I was scanning some of our photos from when the kids were very little and there you are with your kiddos. How are you? Where are you? I see you have provided your email address, so I will email you. I am happy that you enjoyed this inspirational story. Even more amazing, is that I called Mary back a couple of weeks ago and asked if I could stop to visit her en route to Illinois, where Stephanie will get married. “Yes,” Mary replied. I am not only spending the night with her, but she has asked me to be the speaker next Wednesday at the Wildwood House of Prayer. Anyway, I will email you too. L

      1. Diane,

        I was rummaging through my bookmarks and found your site. Stephanie is getting married!!! (or maybe she already is!). How wonderful. Miss you guys and think of you all often. Hope you are all well. Can’t believe Steve’s studies are coming to a close, or at least this round of them! Hi and love to all, Barbara and Danny and Claire and Grace

        1. Hello Barbara.
          Yes, Stephanie and Shane are married. Please check your emails for I sent out a Google+ note and an invitation to view the web-album that I put together.

          I hope all is well with you, Danny, Claire, and Grace. I imagine the girls are growing up quickly.

          Hugs from Denver,

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