Traveling Light

posted in: Faith, Ministry with the poor | 3


I glanced back toward the door.  “Is the rest inside?”

“This is it.  I like to travel light.”

That was it?  Everything they owned‑‑in two suitcases and a box?  “Okay,” I said.

I drove them home‑‑Patricia, her deep brown skin radiating quiet dignity; and Trish, immaculately groomed and uncommonly courteous for one nine years old.  For a while, our home would be theirs.

I introduced our guests to my family, then we showed them upstairs to their room.  Patricia began unpacking while Trish ran off to play.

Patricia was quiet, but bit by bit we got to know her.  Her husband had left them when Trish was a baby.  Patricia had finished two years toward a nursing degree and hoped to go back to school, but meanwhile half a nursing degree was not very marketable.  A few weeks with no work and no income had led to eviction.

We didn’t see that much of Patricia and Trish.  They would leave early in the day on foot, looking for work or running errands.  They would be back for supper, then usually go to their room.

One cool summer evening Patricia and I were rocking on our front porch and she got to talking.  She talked about the goodness of life, about her delight in Trish and the joy of their life together, about God’s love and care.  As she talked, I pictured two suitcases and a box‑‑and marveled.  I had considered our taking this family in a bit heroic; we, the strong, helping the weak.  But that night I saw a strength of faith I knew little of.

“I like to travel light,” she had said, her graceful way of saying, “Don’t feel sorry for me.”  Or, I wondered, had she been saying more?

Yes, I decided, she had.  Patricia had learned to look to God and God alone for her security.  Such total dependence had become a joy to her, so certain was she of God’s care.

Patricia and Trish had been with us only two weeks when we came home one afternoon to find a note.  “We had to move on.  Sorry we didn’t get to say good‑by.  Thanks for everything.”

A post card came a few weeks later.  A hundred miles down the interstate, a pastor friend had helped them find a home.  Patricia had found work right away.  And she now understood, she said, why she had felt urged to leave on such short notice.  On the bus she had sat beside a man who needed to hear about the goodness of God.  They had talked almost the whole way.

“As for the things we left,” she wrote, “keep the suitcase and give the clothes to someone who needs them.”

Patricia and Trish were a hundred miles further down the road, traveling a little bit lighter.



  1. Have you ever come across extraordinary faith in ordinary people?
  2. Does your own trust in God grow stronger during times of scarcity?

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Author. Pastor. Consultant. Coach.

My lifelong passion has been to help the church become healthier. I have lived this out through youth work, urban ministry, denominational staff work, and pastoring; through writing, editing, and publishing; through consulting with churches throughout the U.S. and Canada. During this season, I am living out my call to help churches become healthier by focusing on helping church leaders become healthier and more fruitful, through writing, coaching, and leading retreats and training events.

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AliceAlice MontesJay Lewis Recent comment authors
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Light luggage
Full heart for the Lord
Is, in my opinion,sometimes better
We can focus more on spreading God’s love\word.

Alice Montes
Alice Montes

This, Mr. Eddie is very nice. We, as people, at time carry much Too much luggage.
When, in reality, listening to God, would make our life much simpler.
There needs to be more Patricia’s in this world. Simplicity is OK.

Jay Lewis
Jay Lewis

Thank you so much for this reminder. As I sat in our living room this morning reading about God’s provision I looked around to notice “things” I had not noticed as God’s provision. My wife and I are blessed beyond our dreams. Jesus is more than enough. I need to travel lighter, you never know when God may call us to another person or place.