Find Your Own Calcutta

Chaplain, Roger Button

Good morning, I pray the day finds you well. We just got back from Nashville TN, for the US Mission Network conference. The US Mission Network is part of the YMCA that works to bring our mission into a more intentional focus within the YMCA across the country. We heard many great speakers and met with many great people from all across the country. 

One speaker—her name is Lori—had the opportunity to meet with Mother Teresa in India. She went there to learn from her. Mother Teresa worked in Calcutta India focusing on the poor and disenfranchised there. When Lori met with her you know what Mother Teresa said? She said, “Why are you here? You come from the richest country in the world. Yet your country is poor. It is poor on love. Go home, find your own Calcutta. Go serve your people.” That was a very powerful message.

So often, we go to a place far away to positively impact people. All the while our neighbor is hurting and we don’t even take the time to notice. 

While we were at the conference we were asked to host a breakout session on the partnership between the Church and the YMCA. You see the Clark County Family YMCA is unique. We have a Y and a church in our Y and a chaplain that has the humble honor of being the conduit between the two. You know what, it works! We talked about how we feed hungry kids, how we provide free swim lessons for kids in severe need and come from a history of abuse, providing backpacks filled with school supplies to the families in our community. And oh by the way, did you know we have a pool, a gym and some weights? During the breakout we were asked if the whole association was this way, or if Clark was an anomaly. Eddie, the Executive Director said, “We are an anomaly, we have work to do.” This grieved my heart. 

We found out that we were the tip of the spear, to coin a phrase. That many Ys across the country were not doing what we were doing. It was good to be with everyone and hear about what they were doing—their struggles and their successes. 

I am home now. I am back in my Calcutta.

As we go into the Christmas season, let us not forget our identity. A Christian based organization set in a secular setting. We are for all, not in spite of our mission statement—quite the opposite—we are for all, because of it. I love our Y, our team and our family. Our motto is “Teaching a community to truly love its neighbor.” Please hear me, I am not saying that we have it all figured out. We are on a journey, we haven’t arrived. But I think Mother Teresa would smile.