Living in a Miracle
The general theme of my last year here with Tenele was “one step forward, two steps back” so I naturally expected to see that again this trip. I knew the initial joyous meetings with Tenele would soon turn into sad ones as she was bound to retreat as in the year before. Every time I walk down the squatter camp to find Tenele, my stomach knots up because I’m sometimes afraid to see her because I don’t want to see her drunk or high or smoking, etc. like the many times that happened last year; most of all, I didn’t want to see her run away from me anymore, because it always hurt more than I pretended it didn’t. So, last week when Tenele would tell me she would come to the house to visit, I smiled, knowing deep inside she really wouldn’t show up, knowing all too well that she doesn’t follow through with her word.
Wow, was I in for a surprise! One step forward, two steps back? No way! This is like a LEAP I’ve seen in her for these past couple weeks. It’s so incredible, I hardly know how to put it into words. I feel like I’m living in a miracle here. Tenele follwed through on her word EVERY time except once, and she’s proving that her words are no longer empty promises. I’ve gone to see her a good number of times already and it was actually really great to see Cedric, too. He seems like he is genuinely trying to provide for Tenele and the baby. The situation is not good, of course, as he still beats her, he still gets drunk, and one time when I went to see Tenele, he was sitting outside their hut with a group of guys smoking weed. Obviously, this is not a good environment for anyone, but I don’t want this to disprove a small change I’ve seen in Cedric, too.
In order to empower Tenele who had voiced her need for laundry soap and diapers, my teammates and I decided to have Tenele over to wash/teach us to wash our clothes. She showed up (ON TIME) for laundry day with a smile on her face and her baby on her back. She was so happy “teaching” us how to wash our clothes, and she was a very hard worker herself. She laughed at me several times as I scrubbed some clothes. After giggling at my apparently not so great washing skills she came over, took the soap from me and said, “Like this, Mama,” and continued scrubbing. We paid Tenele for her teaching and working session, and she was so joyful.
I brought over a bunch of donated baby clothes, basically an ENTIRE suitcase full! So Tenele also came over another time to do some “shopping” through the suitcase and pick out clothes for baby MK. She was so precious going through the clothes. Her eyes lit up at every little piece of used or new clothing. And baby MK looks so gorgeous in all of them. It’s actually so wonderful seeing baby MK in all of these clothes as the trip goes on. 🙂
Though Tenele isn’t completely changed, she is a living miracle nonetheless. She has voiced her desire to leave Cedric, to find a job so she can move out and pay for a place on her own for her and her baby. Her life is not necessarily better, but her heart definitely is! Tenele went to Timbutini church with us last Sunday, so that was so wonderful, too! In one sense, I wish I could stay here and take Tenele and the baby in with me. But I know it’s not what I’m called to do. It’s an “easy” fix in my mind, but as Christina likes to say, “Our plans are not always God’s plans.” How true that is, and how true that has been on this trip. I have lots of plans and ideas for Tenele and for the girls home and for our work here, but God has better ideas. I may have to wait for them, which is hard, but I know His plans are perfect. God keeps reminding me this trip to not just PUT my trust in Him, but KEEP my trust in Him.
So KEEP my trust in Him I will. Afterall, how can I NOT when He is allowing me to live in his miracle. There is no greater gift I’ve ever had in my entire life than this ability to experience His miracles in progress.
So as the simple yet powerful prayer goes,
Here I am, Lord; use me!