Wednesday, June 1, 2011
I met Fatima for the first time in 2007 in a small village town at the Centro Emissor church in Mozambique. I had only attended church there a few times before faces were becoming familar to me and people were starting to recognize me each week. It wasn't too long and I felt comfortable enough to dance out into the church and worship with the ladies. They were not acustomed to visitors of my kind coming around and I certainly was not accustomed to participating in this type of worship. But I loved it! The passion and the singing and dancing, the freedom to move and enjoy worship was exciting. My heart danced before the Lord with glee.
Fatima and I became friends instantly. I told her that if she lived in America that we would be best friends. We had kindred spirits. Of course that was in English and she didn't understand a word of it and she laughed until our belly's hurt. From that day on a realtionship had been established that would devolpe into a desire to pray for her and her family regularly.
My time had come to an end that season in 2007 and I was going to be leaving soon so I went to say good-bye to everyone and especially to Fatima. I stopped by her house and she ran out to the car to say hello. But this time I would have my translator tell her that I was going home the next day. She just looked down and wouldn't look at me. I told her that I was praying that God would allow me to come back. I told her that I loved her and I wanted her to know how much God loved her too. I took her by the face and had her look into my eyes so she could see that I was serious with my words. Fatima has experienced many disappointments in her life and this could be just another one. God has blessed me for 6 years now of going back to the small village church where I am now a proud member of Centro Emissor.
On Friday May 27th, 2011, Fatima's youngest son died of complications. I got the call on Saturday morning that the funeral would be at 2pm that afternoon. At first I was stunned at the thought of how this baby that was so strong and fat could have died? I was deeply saddened for my friend. I was angry with myself that I couldn't speak the Portuguese words that I wanted to speak into her life the sorrow I felt for her losing a son.
We arrived at her home and the usual custom had already begun to take place. The men were cutting boards for the small casket just big enough to hold the child and his belongings and lining it with a white linen. We walked in the house and there lying on the floor was her only son covered with a blanket and she beside him covered in a grieving cloth. Her head covered, her body covered, her desire to cover her pain so as to not show the depth of her grief. The room was filled with women sitting on the floor beside her singing quietly songs of comfort. Some women would often have to pause because their reality was that this could be her son too. 50% of the babies die here before they reach the age of 5, this is a hard reality.
The song that will resonate with me for a long time was sung in Portuguese. The words are," Jesus is passing through here and when He passes everything changes. The sadness will go away and He brings joy and happiness."
We all walked to the cemetary for the burial and I stood back as her son was put into the ground praying that God would comfort her soul. The message given by our leader Zito was clear about knowing who Christ is so that one day we too will spend eternity with him.
I had a brief moment to embrace Fatima and tell her that "God knows our sorrows and when we are sad. That her son is waiting for her in heaven and that one day she will see him again."
How does a mother do this? I don't know the pain and the suffering that goes along with this. All over the world there are mother's and father's who have met this pain. Their only hope of surviving is their trust in Jesus.
Ecclesiastes3:1-4 To every thing there is a season, a time to every purpose under the heaven: a time to be born, a time to die, a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal, a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance