Paying It Forward

By Marilyn Kettering Badger

March 27, 2017

One recent discovery occurred when, as historian, I submitted copies of two old letters to Maple Grove Church found by Annamae Rush Swaisgood in her parents “stuff.” (Cloyd and Alice Rush).  I sent copies to Peggy Reiff-Miller, a Church of the Brethren lady, who is collecting material for writing a book about the sea-going cowboys and the Heifer Project which started in the Church of the Brethren in the 1940’s through Dan West’s creative and forward thinking.  These letters were originally in German and had been translated for the church to read.  They came from the recipients of two of the heifers that our church sent through Heifer Project to Europe in the 1950’s.  Peggy emailed me back wondering if we had the originals, which we did not.  I suggested she check with the archive people at Heifer, and she emailed me later with exciting news that they had found some of the original letters.  Why the interest?

There is a man in Germany who is trying to write stories about these extraordinarily unique animal gifts received after World War II from COB peoples in the USA who cared enough to send animals to locations in Europe and about those who received them.  He is doing this writing, in light of the refugee crises now occurring in Europe where the Europeans still remember when we (CoB) “paid it forward” to them, and they are trying to do something similar – “paying it forward” today to the refugees coming to them.  For many people this was a life-saving gift.  Heifers were sent bred, and the firstborn calf was to be shared with another family, multiplying the blessing.  We look forward to hearing more about this in years to come.

Peggy also maintains a blog online about sea-going cowboys, and in March 2016 she will be releasing a children’s book on the topic.  She already has released a DVD on the subject.  All are available through Brethren Press.  An action from the past is headed to the now and future!

Dear Heavenly Father, help us to be ever tuned into the messages you send us to help others.  Thank you.  Amen.

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