Activated - - NEWS - By Anna Per­lini Anna Per­lini is a co­founder of Per un Mondo Migliore, 1 a hu­man­i­tar­ian or­ga­ni­za­tion ac­tive in the Balkans since 1995. ■

Just be­fore I left for In­dia, where I was go­ing to spend a num­ber of years as a vol­un­teer, a friend gave me a very orig­i­nal and, I thought, use­ful farewell present. “I’m kind of wor­ried for you,” she con­fided. “You’re go­ing to a dif­fi­cult coun­try and this might come in handy.”

On the small box was an in­scrip­tion: “The small­est gold coin in the world.”

I packed it away and took it with me to In­dia, and later on to Nepal.

My friend was right—things weren’t al­ways easy, and we of­ten en­coun­tered hard­ships of all kinds, from the cli­mate to trop­i­cal sick­nesses to fi­nan­cial chal­lenges. We never lacked any of our ba­sic ne­ces­si­ties, but we did of­ten have to skip the ex­tras.

My hus­band and I some­times talked about sell­ing the coin, but we’d agreed it was to be our emer­gency fund, and that it wouldn’t be touched un­less ab­so­lutely needed. Whenever the topic came up, we al­ways came to the con­clu­sion that it wasn’t re­ally such a des­per­ate sit­u­a­tion, and I’d put it back in my suit­case.

Af­ter eight years, we re­turned to Europe, and one day I walked past a nu­mis­matic store and won­dered just how much my gold coin had been worth all this time. A few days later, I brought it in to be ex­am­ined.

My heart and ev­ery­thing in me dropped when the kind clerk ex­am­ined my coin and told me that it had no value be­sides the gold weight—and as it was “the small­est gold coin in the world,” it ob­vi­ously didn’t weigh very much.

So all those years when we’d thought we had an emer­gency fund, were we just be­ing naïve? A mix of dis­ap­point­ment and em­bar­rass­ment over­whelmed me, and I ac­tu­ally al­most threw the coin away. It seemed like that would hardly be a loss.

But later on, I re­al­ized that lit­tle coin was sym­bolic of our faith. We’d kept it with us all the time; we’d never lost it. And as we walked by faith, God never failed to pro­vide for us.

We still have the coin, and it’s now a trea­sured me­mento. As far as I’m con­cerned, it’s ac­tu­ally gained value.


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