Dearest Sisters-

This letter has been a long time coming, and I only pray that the Holy Spirit grants me the right words to convey the depth of my gratitude to each and every one of you. I had all sorts of different ideas of what made a community when I came to Maggie’s Place. I had studied a lot of different communities during my senior year of college, but I’d never so completely been immersed in one like this. People keep telling me that this has been a particularly difficult year for our home. I don’t know whether that’s true or not, seeing as it’s the only one that I have been here for. However, I will not deny that it has been challenging in ways I could never have imagined. Yes, I have encountered a lot of grief, sorrow, and frustration. But never before in my life have I also received so much love, seen such generosity, or continually been able to witness to God’s providence in my life and the lives of those in our community. I have come to see that the two extremes come together, and it is often when I try to remove as much suffering from my life as possible, that I also miss the joy.

People: It is through people that we encounter Christ. And you, the Maggie’s Place community, have been some of the people who have helped the most to open my eyes to seeing Christ living and present in the day to day. And this is what I am so grateful for right now. Without always knowing why, you have made sacrifices for the sake of our home ─ simply because we are a part of the greater Maggie’s Place community. And these have been true sacrifices, giving not out of your own excess, but out of your need. That reveals a love far deeper and greater than we are capable of giving. That reveals a love that comes from Christ.

I never have really thought about being on the receiving end of that love. I’ve always thought about our Christian call to love as Jesus loves. But how can we love like that if no one ever receives that love? If no one allows us to? It requires a great humility and vulnerability to accept such profound shows of love, and even more so, to recognize our inherent need for that love. Those don’t come naturally to me, but being at Maggie’s Place has almost forced me to accept that. In a community where people and relationships are of prime importance, you have opportunities to receive love as often as you have opportunities to give it. The question is merely, “Do we choose to accept it?” Much of the time it is easier not to. But that isn’t the point.

And while I want to thank all those in the Maggie’s Place community who have shown love in so many ways, now is the time to express my gratitude to the fellow MissionCorps. Thank you for helping me see Christ in others: Through the sharing in sufferings and joys. Through the challenges and brutal honesty. Through your generosity, vulnerability, love, and sacrifice. Thank you for giving me a model to follow, a friend to walk with, and a shoulder to lean on when times get rough. Thank you for helping me grow closer to Christ and helping me learn to love and serve Christ in each mom, baby, volunteer, or donor who comes into contact with our home. God has truly blessed us in this community, and blesses each day with His providence and love. I pray that we may always have the grace to see and accept that love from Him and one another, and may we never forget to be grateful for it.

With deepest gratitude,

Mary Notess, MissionCorps Member at the Zechariah House