As good as it gets
A missionary’s life is full of ups and downs. Each day is definitely a new adventure. Often they are full of unsolvable heartbreaking issues. Other times the joy is purely indescribable. That is the case when God truly transforms a person before your very eyes. To see God create a new heart in someone and to see His spirit at work in them is as good as it gets.
Our first widow enrolled in the Women’s Refuge Center has officially completed her time in the program. When we first met her, she was unwanted by everyone in the community and had no place to call her home. She had temporarily been allowed to occupy a hut on the land of a distant relative. That relative along with all the surrounding neighbors abused her physically, verbally and emotionally. They refused her to dig (plant a garden) and harvest firewood, which is basically a death sentence in such a remote area. They all made her life very difficult, but one lady in particular made her life a living hell. The lady would go out of her way to mistreat her and say all manner of hurtful things regarding her barrenness among other things. She was pushed to the brink of suicide on many occasions due to the heavy amount of abuse.
We were able to intervene by enrolling her into our widows program where she was loved and appreciated daily, taught the love of God and taught how to save for a place of her own. Her actions this week confirm that she is graduating from this program with the highest of honors.
As we prayed on her newly purchase land a few weeks ago, she prayed for the people that abused her, primarily the woman that showed the most hostility. On Tuesday, she was determined to visit that former home for the first time since Sandra Watkins and I packed her things in the Land Cruiser and drove away nearly one and a half years ago. She went to the ladies discipleship at our church and asked all the ladies to pray for her. She wanted boldness and wisdom to face her former abusers. She said it was very important that they knew she forgives them for it all.
Upon reaching the old home place, she was immediately surrounded by dozens of people that had known her. Her abusers were there as well as she began to tell everyone how Christ had changed her life and that she knew He wanted to change theirs too. She singled out the one that had caused so much pain and told her that she loved her, that God loved her, and that she forgave her. To her relief, the lady rushed to her in tears and apologized profusely. She said, “How can you forgive me for the horrible things I said to you and the way I treated you?” Our friend said, “Because I was once just as far from God and sinned just as bad if not worse, but God forgave me and gave me a new life. He will forgive all you have ever done too and I just wanted to come here to let you know I already have.” The lady embraced her and said she wanted to know the God that can forgive all her wickedness.
If she keeps her word, she will be at Living Stones Community Church this Sunday and if I know my friend, she will shout and dance with joy with an indescribable peace in her heart that God has provided just for her. As for me, I will think back to my own wickedness. The wickedness that God no longer remembers because He put it as far as the east is from the west. Then I too will have an indescribable peace because that is as good as it gets. Thank you for supporting the ministries of Abaana’s Hope. If we never accomplish anything else, seeing that widow lady forgive and proclaim the Good News to the one that hated her most, has made it all worthwhile.