Sunday, 24 July 2011

Wise Women and my Great Auntie

Sarah at Emerging Mummy has written this post recently.  It got me thinking about my Great Auntie.  In her latter days we would occasionally visit her in her retirement flat in the South of England.  Her life story is largely unknown to me now, and if I did know I have forgotten.  She was a formidable lady and not to be messed with.  If she didn't agree with you then you would know about it but she loved God and people.

I know that after the death of her father she lived with various relatives and was split up from her siblings.  Her sister, my Nanny ended up in Ireland but Auntie stayed in England and eventually trained as a Nurse and Midwife.  Around the age of 55 she left the comforts of these shores to serve her God in Pakistan; in a School that now boasts its own website!  In 1974, she started a 20 year stint that only came to an end because of her heart problems.  She was a long way from hospitals and didn't want to be a burden to others when she got her pace-maker.  She returned to the UK and served God for a further 10 years here.

When she died my mum cleared out her flat and found a very long hand-written description of one of her journeys home.  (It was hard to read as unlike her sister, my Nanny, her writing was not that clear!)  She travelled overland from Pakistan via the Kyber Pass to Kabel ; Kandahar; the Iranian Border; Tehran; Ankara and Istanbul through Bulgaria, Yugoslavia and Italy then onto Paris, Calais and across to Folkstone.  She landed in the UK during a train strike!  Mum thinks this journey was made around 1977 when she was nearly 60 years old!  The last words in her account were "It was good to get here - although sometimes I felt I was in a dream - I thank God for His overruling care and love through it all."

My Great Auntie is no longer here to ask questions about her further adventures, and when she was here I didn't know the extent of what she had done and wasn't interested.  I need to draw inspiration from her and learn to serve God and people in the same way.  I need to stand up to my many fears and take some of her courage.  She prayed faithfully and read her bible like her life depended on it (which it did!).

Thanks Sarah for causing me to think of this remarkable lady.

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