I told you a few weeks ago that I had some stories from Midland.
One of them is about my new friend, Alta Lynn Gerlach. She is married to the pastor of Crestview Baptist Church. I didn’t say “pastor’s wife” because I didn’t want you to get the wrong idea. She doesn’t really fit the “pastor’s wife” mold except that she fits it perfectly.
Alta Lynn is fun, funny, creative, accepting, kind, smart … to know her is to love her. She helped pick out all the furniture for their new church building, she works full time at the Miss Cayce’s Christmas Store – you know, the one that I RAVED about, leads a design team at that store, has two daughters, she seems to always be on the go and yet … in just the little bit of time I got to spend with her, she seems so grounded. I can’t explain her … and she probably likes it that way.
And this is her story. It’s one of my favorites.
Alta Lynn was the daughter of an American soldier and a Korean mother. She was born near the end of the Korean War. I don’t know anything about her father and I’m not sure she does either. Her mother however loved Alta Lynn and wanted the best for her. She told a missionary who was visiting that he could take Alta Lynn to America in order for a family to adopt her, enabling her daughter to have a better life than the one she felt she could provide.
A family in Texas was told that their daughter was coming soon and they began to prepare for her arrival. But shockingly, they found out that somehow, the little girl they thought would be their own, had been sold on the black market. They were planning to begin praying for a new daughter, but their church said “no”. We’ve been praying for this daughter and we’re going to keep praying for her.
Because Alta Lynn’s father was an American, the CIA was able to get involved and they found her. (The CIA is really good at their job but I personally think those prayer warriors back in Texas had a little something to do with finding a little girl lost in a big country.) When the missionary went to the person who had bought Alta Lynn, he offered “a little bit of money and a ruby ring” and “bought” her back.
Alta Lynn came to America and grew up in the most loving of homes. She completed her education and got multiple advanced degrees. She married John Gerlach and became a mother. And she tells everyone that she has had a ” truly wonderful” life.
A life that was changed because someone bought her for “a little bit of money and a ruby ring”.
And why is that one of my favorite stories?
For starters because Alta Lynns story is so much like our story.
We were bought for a price. A price far higher than “a little bit of money and a ruby ring.” We were bought as a result of Jesus dying on a cross. As I Corinthians 3:20 says … “you were bought at a price”.
You were bought.
At a price … and a large one at that.
Although Alta Lynn has no memory of her mother, she told me that she knows her mother loved her. She has a picture of herself and her mom when she was about two or three and her hair is perfectly curled. It is flipped “just so” and Alta Lynn said … “that wasn’t easy to do”. And although she doesn’t remember her mother or her mother fixing her hair, that picture, to her, proves her mother loved her so much that she spent time and fixed her hair … “just so.”
Like Alta Lynn, we know we are loved. God made us … formed us. Knows the number of hairs on our head.
Alta Lynn feels like she has bad a pretty remarkable life and I’d have to agree.
And that is why I love this story.
The story of “a little bit of money and a ruby ring.”