Where is your end of the earth?
October 2012

By Anna McShane — At a recent college mission conference the speaker challenged students to think about the “ends of the earth.” My husband responded in a daily newsletter to the students that for some of them, just stepping off campus was their “end-of-the-earth.” Good banter ensued.

We took the conversation home to our hostess. Sara and her husband, Ted, were my husband’s students over 30 years ago, and Sara was his artist in a college media department. Then he married them. Long-term friends. Our kids think of them as family. We couldn’t be much more different, though.

Sara is a total homebody. Her end-of-the-earth is at her door. She hates going out to market, to the doctor, or to run errands. Maps drive her nuts. She loves working out of her house. And yet, it isn’t really true that her end-of-the-earth is at her door.

Sara’s home is a delightful collection of country: handmade treasures & hand stitched creativity cover the whole house. In recent years, with kids grown and gone, she has poured her energy into quilting for charities. A bright room off the great room/kitchen has sewing machine, scissors, and a huge table for cutting fabric. Bright squares of material stick out of shelf boxes on three sides. As we came and went from the house, we usually found Sara busy at the machine in the quilt room, knocking off yet another lap quilt for wounded soldiers or abused children. Sara’s quilts go where she doesn’t go herself.

Her end-of-the-earth also comes to her. One day it was a woman whose son had committed suicide last month, sitting helping Sara quilt. Or the phone rings and she’s counseling and encouraging women. A small group meets every fall to design, create and sew gorgeous “Father Christmas” pieces, all the while drinking Sara’s tea and loving being in her home.

A glance at her refrigerator shows how far Sara’s world goes. It is packed with people she prays for – people she keeps in touch with around the world. I find pictures of my family and remote places we’ve visited. Sara is a homebody, but her computer and phone take her way beyond her walls.

The question isn’t really “are you willing to go the ends of the earth?” but are you willing to step over your OWN end-of-the-earth. I don’t expect to ever see Sara far from home, but I know that her quilts, her mentoring, and her friend-sharing letters and notes do take her to the ends of the earth. Sara’s a homebody, but her focus is not on herself; it is on the world.

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Anna McShane
Anna's lifelong involvement in missions has included serving throughout Asia.