Mary Kay writes...
I went to a crusade in the
It was the usual stuff of village crusades – singing, dancing, praying, and preaching the Gospel. The entire village will turn out for something like this – but then again, what else is there to do on a given Wednesday night in a village in the middle of nowhere? The children all gather around, wanting to touch us, greet us, and practice their few words of English – which in this village seemed to be limited to “my brother.” I tried to teach them “my sister” or “sistah” as a Ghanaian would pronounce it. But since my Dagbani is at least as limited as their English, it was a lost cause.
During the sermon, which was entirely in Dagbani, I found myself watching the mothers of the village, who were standing across the circle from me. My heart feels such a bond with these women. But tonight, I found myself wondering whether we were more alike or more different.
I’ve always focused on the similarities before. They marry, have children, care for their families. They cook and clean and work to help support them. They love their children and try to raise them to become productive and respected members of society. They want the best for their children. I observed all this as I watched mothers quiet children who were noisy or restless. And as the hour grew late, every so often a mother would get up, gather her sleepy preschoolers, and take them home to bed.
But then I was hit by the differences. The women my age are grandmothers, if they have survived this long, and have given birth to 6, 8, even 10 or more children. They look more like they are in their sixties or seventies, than their mid-forties. And I don’t have to watch my children run around half-clothed in rags (well, except for Chip’s fashionably torn jeans!). I won’t hear their cries as they go to bed with empty stomachs (again!) because the rains have not come and the crops are failing. I don’t have to worry that the next mosquito bite will be the one that brings my child a fatal case of malaria. I can turn on the tap, rather than worry about where I will go to find water for my family, or about whether the water I and my daughters fetch will make us sick, or about what might happen to my daughter as she goes to fetch water or search for firewood. Most of these women cannot read and write. Most will never travel further than Tamale, while I am typing this into my laptop on a plane bound for
And yet, we are all daughters of the King. God loves each of us passionately. He calls us His “beloved, beautiful and precious in [His] sight” (Isaiah 43:4). Jesus cares about each of us individually and wants to know us personally. He wants to share in our joys and our sorrows, to comfort us in our fears, to give us hope for a better tomorrow. But many of these village women may never know that they have a wonderful inheritance, theirs for the asking.
I pray that I never become complacent or self-satisfied. I want an ever-burning passion to share Jesus’ love with my sisters – in Kushibu, in Dansoman, in Dunwoody – wherever I meet them. I pray that God will use the bonds that we share to bridge the gaps, whether cultural, language, or lifestyle, that divide us.
He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; He gently leads those that have young. [Isaiah 40:11]