I know something about welcome. You see, I was born in India and adopted at age six into an American family in which there were already two kids. My arrival brought major adjustments for us all. At first, my sister and I fought a lot. Today, we are really good friends and sisters — by choice.

Church is a lot like this, too. Kids at school often discriminate against other kids who are different because of physical characteristics, race, sexual orientation or whatever. My church, on the other hand, has decided to become a place that welcomes everyone. It is a safe place to grow and learn. We just don’t talk about faith. We put it to work. The youth in our church are going to a work camp this summer to build a Habitat for Humanity house.

Polio, during my early childhood in India, left me unable to walk without braces and crutches. I used to wonder sometimes why God allowed this to happen to me. I now see ways my life experiences have helped me become a stronger and more confident person. My family and my church community focus on my abilities and they encourage me to share my unique gifts.

Being an artist is one of my gifts. You’ve probably seen my work. I have designed several UCC Sunday Bulletin covers during the last six years. One was a drawing of the world with a rainbow over it. That drawing says a lot about the way I feel about my family, my church, my God and the ways they relate to each other.

In India, the name Rajee means princess. My dad is a minister. I’ve heard him say, “We are God’s offspring.” I guess that makes each one of us a prince or princess in God’s Realm.