16 March 2008

Breakfast & Blessings

Recently, IF the 4 "big" girls are ready for school and have their room picked up BEFORE their ride for school arrives, we've been letting them walk around the corner and buy some of the local street food that one of our friends sells each morning. These "beignets" (or donuts) are made from a bean flour, fried and served with a spicy tomato sauce and mostly everyone in our family enjoys them - although the amount of preferred spicy tomato sauce varies from individual to individual.

One of these days, I want to sneak around the corner and get a picture of our four blondies lined up in a row, watching her fry the beignets (still working on getting batteries in the camera, AGAIN!), as several friends who've seen the girls as they drive by on their way to work say that it is definitely a Kodak moment.

But, I'm not only mentioning this because I think it would make a cute photo op... but because I'd like to share a special bit of testimony.

My friend, the lady who makes these donuts, is the mother of the little gal (who is almost exactly Jonathan's age) we'd asked many to pray for, just a little over a year ago. Her mama came to our home late one Sunday night after church, carrying her very sick, precious and beautiful little girl in her arms. About a year previous, the little one had been diagnosed with menengitis and malaria at the same time. As a result of brain damage, probably from the menengitis, she now had hydrocephalus and needed surgery right away, or the growing pressure from the fluid accumulating around her brain would lead to death. We began to pray and ask the Lord what He might have for us to do, and we saw God provide in an amazing way for this family. He provided funds for the surgery and we were able to help with transportation to and from the clinic, meals while this little one and her mama stayed at the clinic, making runs to the pharmacy to purchase medications, providing filtered water during her time of recovery, etc.

What especially touched my heart was how God provided such clear, step by step leading - He never showed us His whole plan, all at once, but He always revealed just the next step, just when it was time to take that step. We had several friends question the wisdom of helping this family, especially African friends, for chances are that this child will never be "normal" and will always be a "burden" to her family. But with the peace that only God can give, we knew we were following His will...

Just a few days ago, this little girl and her mother came by the house, again late at night - it was nearing 10 p.m. I had already crawled into bed and I must admit that my attitude was less than stellar as I dressed and headed out to the gate where she was waiting for me (she didn't want to come into the courtyard, have the dog start barking and wake any of our little ones who might be sleeping - I did appreciate her consideration :-) ). I walked out, filled with a sense of duty and responsibility and fearing that she had gotten sick again - certainly not considering the privilege I have to serve my friend or the biblical principle of rejoicing with those who rejoice...

She had come by precisely for that reason - she was rejoicing and she wanted someone to rejoice with her! While we've received scattered negative comments, she has faced criticism for not simply allowing Allah's will to be done, instead approaching the missionaries (and our God) for help. Many of her neighbors do not understand her love for her handicapped child, see only a burden... a child who will never benefit their family.

She came by to tell me that a local organization was funding a wheelchair, fitted specifically for her daughter. But then she also wanted me to hear something: Her little one has finally started to speak! She isn't saying much, but her mama had tears in her eyes as I listened to that beautiful child say over and over "Ay nya, Ay nya!" (My mama, my mama - in Zarma) as she smiled and laughed, leaning in time and time again to kiss her mother.

Please continue to pray for my friend, her precious daughter and their family. I'm so thankful for how God is using them in my life - and I pray daily to be an instrument of His, in their lives.

FYI - the picture of the lady above is not my friend - I don't have a recent picture of her, and as mentioned earlier in this post, I don't have batteries in my camera. But the quiet strength, love, care and concern for her baby... and the baby's trust in her mama (see that sweet little hand), made me think of my friend as soon as I saw it. This photo was taken by Finbarr O’Reilly

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