**As we continue our quarterly theme of Elisabeth Elliot’s Heroes of the Faith, we hope you enjoy today’s visit with Mrs. Kershaw.
Among the most joyful people I have known have been some who seem to have had no human reasons for joy. The sweet fragrance of Christ has shone through their lives. I have often spoken about dear old Mrs. Kershaw, a destitute widow who, somehow or other, began to work for my mother. She lived in a bleak old house, sparsely furnished, cold in winter and hot in summer. She had only one son. He rarely visited her. She was in her seventies, poor, humpbacked, and stone deaf. One of us would pick her up in the car each morning. On the door we would find a notice: “I AM HOME. COME IN.” She was always sitting in her little rocking chair, black coat and hat on, black bag in her lap. She looked up with a seraphic smile: “Oh, it’s the daughter!” she would say if it happened to be my turn to transport her. When she entered our home she had one thing on her mind: How can I make the Howards happy? She would set to work—washing dishes, doing laundry, making applesauce or brown sugar cookies, going upstairs to sit with our old, sad, deaf step-grandmother (can you imagine the exchanges in conversation?), and praying for our family. I’ve never seen a sweeter face, never met anyone who could have excelled her in lovingkindness and total self-forgetfulness.
“In that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book… The meek also shall increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel” (Isaiah 29:18,19).
“Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy” (1 Peter 1:8).
C.S. Lewis wrote, “Joy is the serious business of heaven.” I think Mrs. Kershaw lived in heaven on earth!
**Excerpt originally published in the January/February 2000 Elisabeth Elliot Newsletter.