Book signings are a big deal in the publishing world. Well-known authors often make the rounds to large bookstores as well as boutique settings and pen their names — and, perhaps, a brief inscription — to what they trust will be their next best-seller.
I recently received an autographed book that will have a special place in my library for years to come. The writer won’t appear on a New York Times list. The book can’t be purchased online or at a local store. And even though there is no tag on the back, I’m not sure there’s a way to set a price anyhow.
Chispas! (Spanish for sparks) is a collection of poems from Ramona Enriquez, who is one of our Mission:Dignity recipients. She has been writing for a long time and this compilation has an assortment of her musings over the past three decades. In order to preserve what Ramona has written, a family member used one of the modern self-publishing websites to produce a soft-cover book and Ramona sent me a copy.
On page 63 is a poem called “Shepherd” and it’s probably my favorite:
The shepherd led his sheep along,
Most of them still young and strong,
But the little old ewe-lamb limping along
Followed far behind.
As they went up the hill
She was following still,
But following far behind.
They came to the fold and entered in
And he stood awaiting the missing one,
And the little old ewe-lamb came limping in.
That was written in 2012, the year after Ramona’s husband, Ed, died. They had served in ministry together for over 60 years in New Mexico and Texas, with much of that sharing the gospel with migrant workers. Living on a small retirement income, the Enriquezes were given a monthly Mission:Dignity grant in 1996 and were featured in our testimonial video in 1999. Ed shared the touching story of taking off his shoes and giving them away to a migrant worker who had never owned a pair.
As a widow the past four years, and having recently celebrated her 85th birthday, Ramona has been lonely but never alone. In declining health, she’s very much that little ewe-lamb who has depended on a caring and loving Shepherd whom she has followed for most of her life. Additionally, she is incredibly thankful for the love and care of people like you who have helped her with the costs of utilities and medicine.
Ever since that moment when God’s Spirit sparked your interest in this ministry, you’ve had a part in making life better for the nearly 2,000 people we assist each month — and especially the widows like Ramona who are grateful to know they are loved and not forgotten.
Thank you so much for your generous Mission:Dignity gift this month. We are grateful that you’ve added your name to our best-givers list and are helping us write a happy ending to these stories of faithful service from God’s aged servants in need.
Grace and peace,
Director of Development