What a perfect name for the woman we met today. Our intention was to meet a woman named Ester in her house; she is a Christian at the church in Bondeni. She was not there when we arrived (though we did see her later and it was an honor to talk with her and be in her home) and Grace was sitting on a step feeding her son a few houses down. Our group leader asked if we could come in and talk to her. She agreed. We entered the cramped house as we have done and sat down, ready to discuss the HIV and Salvation cubes. After we explained the cubes and Isabella interpreted, Isabella began asking Grace questions. Because she was speaking in Swahili, the rest of our group wasn’t sure what she was asking. From the look on Grace’s face, we had an idea. Tears began to stream down her face and she patted her son’s head and began speaking back to Isabella in Swahili.
Isabella then interpreted: “Grace says she wishes to be ‘born again.’ I asked her why and she said because of the things she has seen in her life.” We later learned that Grace had recently lost her husband. Grace said she used to attend church but hadn’t in quite some time but was ready to have God in her life. Isabella went through the confession in Swahili and Grace’s voice rose to almost a shout, she put her hand in the air, closed her eyes as tears fell, smiled and confessed that Jesus Christ was her Savior. It was a very touching moment and it brought tears to my own eyes. Grace will also be attending church with us in Bondeni on Sunday.
Although that’s one of the many positive things happening, it’s hard to understand how I should feel or process what I see. It’s overwhelming. At times, I feel sad and want to give them all I have and cry with them. At other times, I am happy and proud of them for surviving in such conditions. And that’s all it is: survival. It’s a rough life and I’m glad we can bring the hope of God to some of them. Please continue to pray.