May God Bless you and Keep you!

Kwangathi uNkulunkulu anganibusisa futhi ikugcine means “May God bless you and keep you” in the Zulu language. It is the first line of a prayer that I have learned in the native language of every country I have visited. I learn it in order that I might bless people I meet along the way…people I might not ever see again.

May the Lord bless and keep you;
Make his face shine upon you
and be gracious to you (Numb 6:24-26)
until we meet again one day.

These words do not translate perfectly into the Zulu language, but I shared them everywhere I went while serving in South Africa for a summer years ago. I have found the words comforting on this day.

Today is Palm Sunday in the life of the Christian Church. It is the first day of Holy Week marking the day that Jesus begins what is known as his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Today was also my last Sunday at Myers Park United Methodist Church—a place that has formed and shaped me during this last chapter of my life in ways that I hope will leave me better able to serve in the coming chapters of my life. On my last Sunday in this community,  I release the words of this blessing to any who read this, I also want to share with you the way we can be blessed by people who pass through our lives like a breeze rustling the leaves on a tree…

I had my first garage sale last weekend. I would never have imagined a garage sale could be a spiritual event, but it was. The hardestIMG_0256 things for me to release for this preparation to move to another country were things that were made for me by people from other countries. I had a basket woven for me by a woman in South Sudan. I hoped the right person would take it. Wouldn’t you know a woman from Somalia bought not just the basket, but everything I had from Africa. She shared with me that her family could not bring anything with them when they moved to this country and that her grandmother made baskets just like the one I had. She ran her fingers over it lovingly and tole me it would make her happy.

May God bless you and keep you…

There was another woman who could not believe how cheap I was selling all my stainless steel kitchen appliances. I shared with her that I hoped to bless others with the things that had been a gift to me. She purchased all of the small appliances and then she shared with me she was starting over for having been the victim of domestic violence.  She asked me if I might pray with her since I was a pastor. She returned later to help me clean my kitchen with two other ladies from the neighborhood who had shopped with me. I was amazed that they would want to help me clean, but they told me they knew that I needed help.

May God bless you and keep you…

Blessings come when we least expect it and they pour out over periods of time in ways that we can not predict or imagine.  I have been blessed during this Charlotte chapter of my life. There are things I have loved like the way the trees dip to greet each other as I drive down Providence road or how seasons all take a turn saying “hello”.  I love the seasons even though my toes are never prepared for the cold. I have loved the philanthropic nature of the community here and the welcoming spirit of everyone I have met. I have loved the opportunity to serve in ways that have left me changed and the opportunity to learn more about myself and the ways I still need to change. There has been much to love. So dear ones in Charlotte, know that as you travel through Holy week, I will be traveling quite literally on the road.  When I arrive in worship on Easter morning, know that my prayer for each of you will be…

May God bless you and keep you…

With you on the journey,



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  1. WE WILL MISS YOU !! … May the Lord make His face to shine upon you …


  2. Lee Shrader

     /  March 30, 2015

    Are you coming anywhere near us in your travels. We are leaving here tomorrow night and should be home sometime on April 1st, if everything goes on time. Our current plans are to be in the U.S. until July 4th, when we hope to return to Cuenca.

    Love you,

    Sent from my iPad



  3. Hi, Michelle! I’m so sorry I missed you when you visited Vestavia. Would you send me your email address? I have a couple of questions for you. Praying for traveling mercies and a wonderful return to S. Africa.



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