And I Weep

Photo by: Alicia Raley
I find her under a tree trying to stay cool in the 100+ degrees of the Mozambican sun. Gladys. She was there the first year I taught the women. My friend of seven years from the village of Ngala; a woman of faith who sacrificed an easier lifestyle in South Africa for rural village life in Mozambique to care for her grandchildren. We embrace. It was almost a year ago when I last saw her. She speaks English well and we are able to communicate.
A severe storm had passed through Ngala leaving much damage. We walk to the church together to see what is left of it.
“Debbie…Debbie…” I hear a soft voice call out my name. It is Tsatsawani, an elderly lady who also came to the teachings each year. I hug her. She too sits under a tree with two young girls.
Photo by: Alicia Raley
 Then I spot Sourgina, another friend who faithfully came to the teachings and also prepared the orphan food for many years. We sit and visit with her.
Photo by: Alicia Raley
I see Orlando come from his and Albertina’s hut. I want to go and shake him, “What happened to you?” He was the pastor of Ngala Baptist Church but removed himself as he returned to a life of drinking. The church has been without male leadership for a few years now. Yet the women continue to faithfully meet.
Photo by: Alicia Raley
We finally make our way to the church. The storm has done much damage. Now there is no thatch and holes are all throughout the rock wall. My heart is sad.
Photo by: Alicia Raley
“Doug and I have a lot of memories here,” I quietly say as I look around.
It was our first village to do ministry together when we came with our church on short-term mission trips and we would continue to always go to that village. Doug taught and played with the children while I taught the women. He preached his first sermon in the dark night by lantern there. It was the place God used to birth in us a heart for the Shangaan people and full-time mission work.
Gladys is quiet.
We take one last picture outside the church.
Photo by: Alicia Raley
Goodbyes get harder when you never know when you will see each other again. We embrace one last time and she heads back for her shade tree.
And I weep…
For women who want to learn more of God’s word, for an unrepentant man and for what was once a church building.

2 thoughts on “And I Weep”

  1. deb, I feel such a kinship with you in regards your thoughts and sentiments in seeing the women esp. One in Christ and cannot be separated, whether we are together or separated unless there's willful turning away from the truth. May the joy you have in your heart over their faithfulness be greater then the sadness over the brother and the building. May the Lord bring this brother back to drink from the Cup of mercy. glo

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