Why does personal distressing news, or even personal luck, seem to come in threes?
This last week, at least for me, seems to have followed in this number 3 pattern. From the last post, I listed 2, not expecting a 3rd. In a shocking email just a few days ago, sad to say, it came. Let me explain:
China Eastern Flight 5735
As a follow-up: My Chinese students and friends kept their messages coming with condolences for the victims and families of China’s Eastern Airline crash. The first black box was found but it was becoming more difficult to find the second due to heavy rains and the heavy vegetation of the Guangxi mountainsides. How well I know those jagged mountainsides because I lived in a rural southern Guangxi Province area for 3 years.
Ground crews expanded their search to within 30 miles of the crash site and finally came upon the second flight box recorder unit on Sunday, March 27, at 9:20 a.m. according to one article I read.
According to the report, it was deeply buried under an astounding 5 feet of soil, which certainly proves the diligence, care and determination of search crews to find it. I can also imagine how devastating it was to sift through pieces of the plane, with personal items (ID cards, purses, pieces of cellphones) being picked through as well.
The last fatal China air crash in 2010 (42 passengers) took several years for a final report to be issued. While families and the public are eager to discover what happened, the analysis of both boxes will not reveal answers anytime soon.
Luzhou Choir Member, Sister Xiao Liu
In my last post, I mentioned one of our choir members who has gone to be with the Lord and car pick-up information for those who wanted to attend the funeral. I contacted one of the members to receive more information about Sister Liu and here was her response:
“Here is her picture, from her WeChat, a beautiful girl. She was a good daughter of our Lord, and she was leader of our praise team. She had a history of cervical cancer, and after a period of remission, it may have returned, affecting her kidneys, liver, heart and other major organs. She sang so beautifully. She loved the Lord so passionately, and at the end of her life, she kept on leading the praise team — singing, praying, and praising. It was a pity. “
I added my note, saying, “Thank you so much for sharing her story with me. She lived a longer life because of her faith, to strengthen her every day. I am sure her family is saddened by her departure from this world. I will pray for them.”
Another in the group continued with this prayerful message: “Thank you, Lord, for taking away her burden of labor in the world and carrying her soul home, home into the sky.”
Bless you, Sister Liu, as you joyfully sing in a choir once again, a choir in heaven.
And in America: We Mission Intern Program (MIP) Alums say Farewell One of Our Own
To close off the above-mentioned threes comes the last one: Nzingha Nia.
From 1988-1991, I joined in the United Methodist’s Mission Intern Program (MIP) along with 14 others. We were between the ages of 22 – 30, a majority of us being in our early 20s and straight out of college. Our two placements, 1 1/2 years overseas and 1 1/2 years in America, were those of peace-and-justice positions, spread throughout the world. My overseas’ position was teaching afternoon and evening English classes for women and children, plus participating in women’s programs at the Kyoto Japan YWCA (Young Women’s Christian Association). My USA post was working in Washington DC, assigned to legislative issues which had been designated by the United Methodist Board of Church and Society as being important for church advocacy.
We MIPs were a close-knit group, having spent a full month of orientation, first at a conference center in Stoney Point, NY, next at Drew University and finally a week stay in NYC visiting 475 Riverside Drive, known as the “God Box,” which housed our Global Ministries headquarters at that time. (Now it is in Atlanta, GA).
I knew Nzingha Nia as one of elegant beauty and firmly grounded in her commitment to justice in the world.
When her daughter, Jendayi, last week contacted another in our alum group to share that her mom was in hospice, we were in shock. A mailing address was given if we wanted to send a card or note. I immediately sat down to write mine, although after I mailed it, Jendayi announced that her mom was no longer with us.
Although Nzingha will not be reading my letter herself, I pray that her family will find some comfort knowing how much she touched my life. I imagine others in my MIP group will add their stories as well about “our” Nzingha.
I leave you with the below, closing off my “comes in threes” post. The photo is of Nzingha’s daughter, which was shared recently by one in our group who visited her yesterday. We are waiting to hear about the memorial service. Such a lovely young woman, like her mom.
Letter to Nzingha Nia
This is Connie, one of your MIP groupmates. Jill sent the address for us to send you a card so here you are!
I wanted to tell you that your name has been in my heart for so many, many years because of its uniqueness. I remember when you first said to the group, “I’m Nzingha Nia” that I was blown away by the beauty of not only the name, but the person who carried it (you!). Now Nzingha reigns high among other wonderful people I have come to know and admire: Nkemba, Mbwizu, Tende, Ruhong, Precious, . . . . the list goes on.
After so many years, I did a little digging and found out why Nzingha is such a majestic and appropriate name, although you obviously already knew this. It is the name of a great seventeenth century African warrior queen, known for her brilliance as an administrator and organizer, and unstinting commitment to peace. Oh, how well that fits!!
Know that I am thinking of you, and sending God’s grace and blessings to you and your family.