By Mommy Emily
We arrive to a throng of people alive with hope the color of the lush green forests around them. They begin few – three miles out – a few young men and boys able to run the distance. Then they’re joined by school children in blue uniform, marching and singing. Soon the blue is joined by an array of yellows, reds and purples–women swaying hips and clapping hands and laughing as Sonnel’s Jeep motors slowly into Massaralie, the home village of Sonnel’s father, a place he’s been coming since he was a boy.
“I used to stay in that thatched roof hut,” he tells Jeanne and myself, Mommy nodding in the passenger seat. He’s from the Limba tribe, apparently the friendliest tribe in the country. He’s been wanting to help his people for decades and did, with the little he had.
Now the grannies are appearing in our windows with their scarved heads and wrinkled smiles, including the oldest woman in the village who’s 102 with the dance of an 80-year-old.
The air is humid and sweet like the meaty flesh of the “pow-pow” or papaya. Drums fill the air and we reach Sonnel’s family house in the center–a place shared by his brothers and their wives and children.
At the head of the village is the church – a Catholic building filled with an evangelical pastor and his flock, paintings of an African Mary and Jesus on the walls.
Beside the church is the nurse’s home –Lizzy —who treats the villagers using medicines purchased by her Lulu microloan.
As we emerge from the Jeep, sweaty after a six hour drive from Bethel Home in Freetown, Musu appears. A tiny girl with a very small head, large eyes and tufts of brown hair, she fiercely plows through the crowd and finds me. Lifts up her arms, grabs my water bottle and clings to my neck.
Later we ask her mother – one of the sorcerer’s wives – how old Musu is and she doesn’t know (sadly this is common in the villages) but she brings us Musu’s birth records and we see that she’s three years of age. Musu’s birth records and we see that she’s three years of age.
The only time Musu smiles is after Pastor Sonnel feeds the whole village a lunch of rice and goat’s meat. She never speaks except to make small noises once in awhile, but she is determined to make her will known, pointing with her thin fingers, nodding firmly when we ask her questions, frowning when she disagrees. And every time she sees me she lifts up her arms, grabs my water bottle and clings to my neck.
Her father, a sorcerer, is a very nice man – we sit with him on the porch of Sonnel’s family home – but he’s involved in the dark arts and this has silenced his daughter.
But nothing can silence the message of the Gospel and when we host a two-day prayer and medical clinic, Pastor Ezekiel leads Musu’s mother to Christ.
I can still feel Musu’s arms around my neck. I can still smell her hair. It smells of like straw.
The day we have to leave, I ask Pastor Ezekiel to find Musu. The villagers have all crowded around the car to say Goodbye, and Musu’s mother comes carrying her daughter I walk over and kiss her head I give her my water bottle and tell her I love her and she nods.
Then I turn and walk to the car and there’s laughter behind me. Musu has wriggled out of her mother’s arms and is pushing kids, left and right, out of the way, gripping the water bottle which looks huge in her small hands and marching fiercely towards me.
I hold her for a long time. I wish I didn’t have to go. But for the sake of Musu and her mother and every other woman in the microloan program and every man in the farming program and the chiefs and pastors being discipled in the 12 surrounding villages, we must.
Because as much as we want to cling, we are not the answer. They are. They are the answer to their own problems. Musu’s mother is what’s best for Musu, especially now that she knows Jesus. We just go once a year to remind them of that. To encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ. And then, to let go and walk away.
Musu’s tiny frame in the rearview mirror, her arms around my heart forever.
Prayer and Praise
- Praise God for the seeds planted on the November trip! He is moving in mighty ways, and many Muslims from the villages are coming to know Him.
- Praise God for the amazing ways He has moved in the last year, putting the lonely into families and knitting together the Lulu family.
- Join us in thanking the Lord for the many improvements to villages in Sierra Leone in 2017, including improvements to the school, medical clinics, and farming equipment and structures.
- Please pray for the provision of a seeder so that crops can be planted soon at the Lulu Farms.
- Pray that the Lord will send funds for a fence to be built around the Bethel Home.
- Pray for Pastor Sonnel and Mommy Christiana as their new family grows and adjusts to life at Bethel, that the children will continue to bond and thrive under the loving care they are receiving.
- Pray for the men, women and children who have recently received Christ, that they would be strong in their faith and protected from attack and that their light would attract family members and friends to a saving knowledge of Jesus.
- Pray for wisdom, unity and protection for our Sierra Leone directors and pastors as they serve the Lulu family there.
- Praise God that the teen mamas are settling into the dorms! This community is a true blessing.
- Join us in thanking God for the beautiful new uniforms the teens now have. Uniforms are an important part of school life in Uganda, and provide our teens with an important sense of community and belonging.
- Praise God for the successful outreach event that happened December 2ed, and the hearts that were touched!
- Thank you, Lord, for the provision of $1,000 towards school fees for the teen mamas!
- Pray with us that the mams, teens, and their babies will continue to adjust well to life in the dorms, and that the transition to a new school in January will be smooth.
- Pray for the provision of the rest of school fees for the School of Hope teens ($2,000).
- Pray for wisdom, unity and protection for our Uganda leaders and pastors as they serve the Lulu family there.