One more saint story to tell as I wrap up my tribute to All Saints' Day 2010. This saint has no fame that you would know her. Her name will not ring a bell. Nor does she come from some time past in our Christian history. But she is a saint all the same—a present day, on the job, serve the Lord saint.
Her name is Taryn Blocker. Taryn is a young lady currently serving a two-year term in Spain as a journeywoman missionary through the Southern Baptist International Mission Board. That in itself is no uncommon thing. Lots of college graduates have done and do that even today. They serve all over the world. "So why highlight Taryn?" you ask.
Well, a couple of things. First, I know her. I've known her since she was in junior high, I think. I know her family. I had the joy to watch her grow through her teen and college years. And second, what she had to endure to get to the field and what she endures even now is what sets her apart.
While Taryn and Brook, her partner in the mission, were getting their training and orientation in Richmond, they were involved in a terrible car wreck. Both were injured: Taryn had significant injuries: broken jaw, two broken legs, conditions that required surgeries. And then, after the surgeries, months of painful rehab just to be able to walk again. What always amazed me most is that in spite of the pain (a constant companion even now), in spite of the fact that she wouldn't be able to go to Spain when she was supposed to go, Taryn never lost faith and never lost her sense of call to go to Spain and reach out to immigrant Hispanics from Central and South America. Hers was one long and winding road just to be reapproved by the mission board. Needless to say they were concerned with her well-being in light of her injuries and weren't sure she would be up to the rigors of mission work. But Taryn hit all her benchmarks to get the clearance to go. It wasn't easy, but she pushed herself and leaned heavily upon the Lord for His strength that was and is made perfect in her weakness.
So today Taryn is in Spain, serving God and extending His kingdom in that part of the world. I wish I could say that she finally is pain free and her injuries from the wreck are just a part of her past, but I can't. She hurts every day. Most every step is painful. But she takes those steps, determined to fulfill the mission to which God called her. She continues to get medical attention. She continues to pray. She continues to serve. And I find that so very saint-like.
No one would have blamed her if she had given up this dream after the accident and after the rehab. No one would have been critical if she had said, "I thought God wanted me to go, but I guess these injuries are God's way of shutting the door on my mission." In fact, a number of folks figured that might be what was going on. But not Taryn. She was called. She was committed. And car wrecks, wounded legs, and pain nothwithstanding, she was going to go fulfill her calling. Taryn believes that God is larger than her challenges, that her mission is more important that her pain, and that she can do all things through Christ who strengthens her. The young woman is an inspiration to all who know her and blessing to those whom she serves in Spain. She is an example worth noting and following.
In His Revlation letter to the persecuted church at Smyrna, Jesus said, "Be faithful unto death and I will give you a crown of life." Taryn hasn't been asked to die for her faith; she's been asked to live it in a foreign culture and with significant pain. And she is being faithful in the midst of all that. She is marked by the life of Christ, and she is bringing that life to those in Spain. So in my book, this young woman bears the markings of a saint.
So Happy All Saints' Day, Taryn! Your parents, your pastor, and your church family are more proud of you than you know. And even then, nobody has a broader smile when he thinks of you than your Friend and Savior Jesus.