Mrs. Li is a neighbor and a friend. She works as a “collector of recycled materials,” gathering paper, throw-away plastics, and used clothes, and selling them to the nearby recycling company. She comes to our house and collects our stuff at least once a week. She is close to 80 years old and despite her age she still patrols our neighborhood for any recycling stuff. Lately, she has been frequenting our place because of the ever increasing number of items that I am trying to dispose of. Old computers, used clothes, unwanted books, and tons of knick knacks that we cannot bring back to the US. She is happy to help us by disposing all of our “garbage” and, in return, makes a few dollars for her to keep.
Sarah took a picture of Mrs. Li and I when she came to collect our recycled goods. We said: “We want a picture of our friend.” She was so embarrassed that we considered her as our friend. She had been my “recycling lady” friend and had helped us with our stuff since we moved in the mission house in 2007. Our friendship was a little challenging. Mrs. Li, like most people in southern Taiwan, spoke only in Hokkien Chinese. She could understand a little Mandarin Chinese, but definitely did not know any English. So, we would usually converse in Mandarin and a little smidgen of made-up sign language. I had visited her house once or twice. I had met her son once. I knew she was going to a Catholic church nearby. On a few occasion, I had prayed with her, on some street corner, when she was out collecting recycled garbage for other people. I wished I had done more, but language barriers and differing work schedule made it more difficult for us to meet. Now, I can only hope for God to be gracious to Mrs. Li. I pray that our Lord Almighty will meet with her on the city streets of Kaohsiung.
We said our goodbyes and gave our final send-offs. I am not sure if I ever will see her again. God will be gracious. Our Lord Almighty will bless the poor of the land, even Mrs. Li. “Blessed are the poor, for their is the kingdom of God” (Luke 6:20).