Friday, March 25, 2011
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Saturday, March 19, 2011
Every Tuesday morning, I get together with a group of wonderful sisters in Christ. We meet to study God’s Word together and usually this happens either at our church or in the settlement where many of the women live. However, the last two weeks we have met unexpectedly in other places to encourage those in need, and it seems this kind of unexpected encouragement is often the most appreciated.
The first Tuesday morning, as we waited at the church for everyone to arrive someone mentioned that an older woman who usually comes to church was quite sick. We decided to see if we could go and encourage her. Someone ran ahead to see if this was ok. Others searched the Scriptures for texts to share.
The ok was given and we walked the short distance to her home. We met under a house on stilts, and sat down on woven mats on the floor, and were joined by our sister and her relatives—sisters, nieces, aunts and one lone man. We all shook hands in greeting, as is customary here. Our host explained that she had planned to travel to a hospital in the Highlands to have her sore back looked at, but then she became very sick with malaria and could not travel. For the past month, she had not been able to go anywhere or do much of anything because she was feeling so weak and ill. We explained that most of us hadn’t known this until today and that’s why we had come. We prayed, sang songs of praise and then the Word was opened. I was not surprised that the texts chosen were all taken from the book of Psalms, wherein every emotion is so powerfully expressed. We then ended in prayer, also praying for the Lord to heal and encourage our sister. She was moved to tears that we had come—she had felt so alone and discouraged at times, but now knew that we were there for her and even more, she was reminded that her Father in heaven knows every pain and burden she carries. Having shaken hands again to say goodbye, we left our sister, some promising to be back soon to see her again. What a beautiful morning.
This week Tuesday, our group had planned to meet in Biwat settlement, but upon arrival someone asked if we could visit a family whose father had just died. This family lived a short distance outside of the settlement, and on the property of a concrete factory. We had to walk right through all the noisy machinery and workmen to get to the area where we would meet to encourage the women who were grieving. The man who had died was a relative of many of the people we know from Biwat settlement—he was predeceased by his wife (many years ago) and also his only son. He left behind his second wife and two daughters, who were about in their twenties. I was told that he died from something like asthma and as I sat there breathing in the dust from the factory, I wondered if a life of working and living in this place had anything to do with it. Of course, the fact that the deceased man was also a heavy drinker wouldn’t have helped either. Still, I couldn’t believe that the owners of the factory could live with themselves knowing that their employees and their families—young children and babies included—were living with the noise, fumes and dust of pipe and concrete making—which goes on night and day. I had to push my anger over the living conditions aside and focus on why we were there.
Sister Polena had prepared the devotion not knowing of course that we would be comforting a grieving family, but the Lord knew and her message on ‘fellowship’ was fitting and encouraging.Again the family was so encouraged that we had come and said they would like to join our group more often. We hope they will. And we hope that the Lord will give us more unexpected moments to encourage others when they need it the most.
I wonder what next Tuesday will bring?
Here are various photos of the women from Bible Study: