I didn’t realize the pain, I didn’t realize how severe the need was, but most of all I didn’t realize how deeply they love.
This past Thursday I went to a gathering in a nearby village with Auntie Memo. We made the 30-minute walk there and were welcomed by a kind momma with a huge smile. Her name was Momma Elizabeth. She laid out a mat and insisted that we sit. The study began and everything was great; we shared our praises, needs, and we discussed what it meant to turn our eyes to the Father. Then we just sat and visited. We spent time laughing together. I wanted to stay, I never wanted to leave. I could see them but not through my own eyes. I saw them through the eyes of the Father who loved them so dearly, the lady who’s struggling to send her kids to school, the child that now has her own baby, the grandmother whose husband is no longer around. My heart broke for them. All I wanted to do was be able to communicate without having to have someone interpreting. I just wanted to tell them how loved they are.
The time came to head back home so we began getting up but were told to wait one more minute while she went to get something. Auntie Memo looked at me and said, “She’s getting us a pumpkin.”
“A pumpkin?” I asked, confused.
“Yeah, don’t you have those in the States?” she asked.
“Well, yeah we do” I responded with a giggle. Momma Elizabeth handed me the pumpkin and we were on our way but not before another momma (Momma Beatrice) could run after us and insist on helping me carry it. She carried it to the end of the village and then we said our goodbyes.
“How do you say thank you?” Memo nudged at me.
“Twalumba” I said as she handed me the pumpkin. I was grateful but not as grateful as I should’ve been.
As we continued walking I began asking Auntie Memo about the families. Where they work, how many people live there, and what they eat. She explained to me that things are really tough right now – especially in that village. There isn’t much work and prices are so high that a lot of families can’t afford enough corn meal for a month and that they might not eat for two or three days at a time – specifically the house that we were just at. It only has one income right now. She told me that Momma Elizabeth has a daughter in a different village who had sent her those pumpkins so they would have food to eat, and she had just given one to us. The only food they had and she gave it away so freely with a huge smile on her face. I didn’t know what to say, I wanted to go back and say “twalumba” about a hundred more times.
“The only food they had and she gave it away so freely with a huge smile on her face. I didn’t know what to say, I wanted to go back and say “twalumba” about a hundred more times.”
When I stop and look at the hearts of the people around me, I’m amazed. They have so little but yet give so much, not just their things but their time and energy. No matter what they’re doing, if someone is in need, they drop everything and help. They don’t hesitate, they don’t have to think about it, they just do things, like giving you a pumpkin. Our Father loves these people so much and he’s allowed me to see them through his eyes as well. He is good and faithful in the midst of pain and suffering.
Auntie Memo told me that she thinks sometimes it’s hard to know what to say to them. She tells them that our Father is good but she doesn’t know if they really see it. Do they think she’s just saying it because she’s better off? They shouldn’t survive – six families living off of two, sometimes three incomes and trying to send kids to school. It doesn’t add up but God keeps providing. They get the food they need and when times get tough somehow they continue to make it. We have a faithful Father whose goodness is not dependent on our circumstances. We have so much to thank him for and so much that is taken for granted.
Take some time to thank God for the blessings in your life, and ask how you can give to those around you – even when you feel you don’t have much to give.