The Widow's Mite
In 2016 I visited Dr. John Leslie in Gallup, New Mexico. John is very quiet, thoughtful and humble. He is not only a pediatrician, but is a bible scholar and biblical archaeologist as well. He believes that God created according to the Bible and published some of his findings and thoughts on social medicine in medical journals. His wife Barbara, ministers hope to young native American women, and is Director of the local Charity. I recommend John's articles on his website https://www.defendingthechristianfaith.org/
On my last day at his home, John gave me six ancient coins that were likely to have been the coins put into the Temple offering box by the widow of Mark 12:41-44. (As Jesus sat near the Temple treasury, he watched the people as they dropped in their money. Many rich men dropped in a lot of money; then a poor widow came along and dropped in two little copper coins, worth about a penny. He called his disciples together and said to them, "I tell you that this poor widow put more in the offering box than all the others. For the others put in what they had to spare of their riches; but she, poor as she is, put in all she had - she gave all she had to live on.")
The amount the widow gave would have been insignificant and probably despised by onlookers. When I handled the coins they were tiny, thin and very light - truly almost worthless. When I held them in my hand, I realized how much Jesus values the little we give to the kingdom of God, if that is all we have to give. Consider how poor Mary and Joseph had been that they could only offer two pigeons at the Temple, when the norm was an unblemished lamb. Too many shirk from yielding their talents to His work, because their talents seem almost worthless in their own eyes. But God sees things from a different perspective.
I gave away the best of my coins as gifts to my favourite ministers, one of whom fare-welled us in Seattle as we boarded the cruise ship bound for Sydney. The best of the coins showed details of the original imprint on both sides. My remaining coin is not impressive but its relative worthlessness is easy to see in the photo. John Leslie also gave me a piece of pottery from the time of Jesus, a personal oil lamp. The original handle is missing. All were approved for export by the Israel Antiquities Authority in 2014.
Having been a fan of Western movies since my youth, I was fascinated to learn that Gallup had been the Western movie capital in the early days of Hollywood. It had some good locations for movie backdrops just outside of town. Monument Valley is only about one and a half hours away by car. We visited a couple of locations close to town used for filming 'She Wore a Yellow Ribbon'. In those years, the only hotel thought decent enough for the stars was the hotel El Rancho in Gallup. We enjoyed a meal there with the Leslies one evening. I was shown Lucille Ball's regular room.
Today we would consider her room just a normal large motel room with two double beds in 'El Rancho' style and heavy curtains. She had her own bathroom and telephone. I didn't realize Lucille was involved in Westerns, until I looked her up on the internet. Below are a few shots of the many movie stars that adorned the walls in the hotel. Take note of one of the typical chairs in the lounge room in which Milena was seated, made of steer horns.
The first photo shows the general landscape out of town, with large rocky escarpments in places much like the shot of myself with John at 'Window Rock' in the Navajo Nation, in neighbouring Arizona. The statue behind us proudly commemorates the famous 'wind talkers', used by the marines in the Pacific for transmitting front line messages which nobody but a Navajo Indian could understand.
In Gallup, I loved the long blasts coming from diesel locomotives at every rail crossing, probably annoying to the locals but music to my ears. Note the typically turquoise Navajo jewelry in the show cases and the beautiful hand woven rugs.
Apparently quite a few people in the Navajo Nation are practicing Christians. This board was on the roadside out of Gallup.
Introducing Chester, a member of the Navajo Nation, whose T-shirt was advertising an all-American Church Conference in the market at Window Rock. What wonderful rugs the Navajos make.