Miracles — His Power Made Perfect

Psalm 146:1-7

Praise the Lord my soul. I will praise the Lord all my life; sing praise to my God while I live. Put no trust in princes, in mere mortals POWERLESS to save. When their spirit departs, they return to the earth and their planning comes to nothing. Blessed are those whose help is in the God of Jacob, whose HOPE is in the Lord their God.
He is the maker of heaven and earth, the sea and everything in them–he remains faithful forever. He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The Lord SETS prisoners FREE…

As hard and heartbreaking as it is for me to be away from my children, specifically Tenele, it has been truly amazing! I have been able to hear about God’s work in her life while I’m gone and to know that His miracles go on! Like this passage from Psalm 147 (which is one I recited and prayed for Tenele over and over while I was in Swazi) I am a mere mortal POWERLESS to save. Though may prayer and ache for Tenele is for her to be set free, to be saved, loved, and cared for, it is also humbling to know that I CANNOT do these things for her. She cannot put her trust solely in me. Looking back at the year, I realize the biggest progress I made with Tenele was teaching her about love and teaching her to trust again. At one point, when I tried introducing another woman who could help her, Tenele said to me, “No, Mary-Kate, God gave me only you.” She could only trust me. She didn’t trust anyone else. But that won’t help her when I’m gone. So I encouraged her to trust the Lord, not me, and know that He will bring her other help.

I prayed hard that Tenele would continue to seek help, to go to the volunteer house even though I had left, and to go to the clinic with Alex, a volunteer I put in charge of Tenele’s clinic documents. June 2nd was her first appointment after I had gone. She didn’t show up. When I had called Ayanda’s cell phone through skype (another volunteer and I left our cell phones for the kids) I had spoken to Tenele once while she was crying. It shattered my heart, hearing her cry, something that was rare to begin with, but being so far away I could literally do NOTHING to help. She ran away from Mangwaneni. I was worried and I my heart was heavy. I prayed a lot. She didn’t show up to her June 2nd appointment. When Alex tried to find her at Mangwaneni she was already gone.

I was helpless, but hopeful, and that’s right where God wanted me…so He could show me his power, so He could show us all that He works through our weaknesses to show His strength, to remind me that apart from Him I can do nothing good (Ps 16:2) and that MY plans come to nothing if they are not of His. God used this perfect moment, the moment of helplessness but hopefulness in his grace and power, to work his miracles. And work he did!

Before I knew it, volunteers updated me on the amazing happenings of “umtfwana wami” my child, Tenele! She came back to Mangwaneni. Not only that, but she traveled BY HERSELF to seek help at the volunteer house. She NEVER did this while I was there. Sure, she came to the house and would come to meet me but NEVER alone! NEVER on her own! (She was always too scared to go anywhere alone, and rightly so, because men in town knew her and would mess with her.) So you know what she did? She took her neighbor’s baby, and wrapped the baby around her back and walked all the way through town on her own to the volunteer house! She waited outside until one of the volunteers came. Hanna, the volunteer who saw her was shocked beyond belief. “Tenele?!” she squealed. Tenele smiled shyly and then Hanna invited her in.

Alex and Hanna and Eilidh all chatted with her for awhile. Alex told Tenele she missed her clinic appointment so they needed to go in sometime. Tenele nodded and arranged with Alex to meet her the following week for the appointment. Sure enough, Tenele was there and ready to go! After her appointment, Alex took her to the grocery store to buy food because she was still very, very skinny, her belly not showing anything and the doctor said she should’ve been showing 12 centemeters by then. So Alex bought her eggs and fruits. I was so thrilled! It feels like watching a movie — watching God work in her life with having no hands in it at all. Watching God work in her hear to trust him, and therefore trust others for help!

Can it get any better?

Ayanda’s birthday was in mid-July so the volunteers gave her a mini birthday party and told me when they would be hosting so I could call them and talk to the kids. So I called Alex and sure enough the kids were there! I sang happy birthday to Ayanda and asked who was there with her. Johannes…AND TENELE! I was shocked. It just happened to be perfect timing, too, because I had sent the volunteers a package weeks before and they had just gotten it! I included letters and my Fingerprints fundraiser t-shirts for the volunteers and my kids! So as they passed the phone around that day, I talked to Tenele and she was the first one to say, “Mama, thanks for the letter and t-shirt!” So precious!!!!!!!!

Alex and Hanna took pictures for me. And sure enough, by this point Tenele was showing and I could see her little baby belly! Alex said at first she was horrified and hated the idea of her stomach getting bigger. She hated it when Alex got excited that she started showing but now she is much more excited about it. In fact, I called Ayanda today and got to talk to Johannes and Tenele. One of the first things Tenele said to me was:

“Mama! I feel baby play in my stomach!”

And we laughed and giggled together. AND…I also found out just today that Tenele helped Ayanda at the soup kitchen when the volunteers gave out peanut butter bread! This is AMAZING news because she’d NEVER go up to the kitchen when I was there! Especially when other people were around! Not only did she go to the kitchen, but she also helped serve and Alex said, “You should have seen her! So proud and happy!!! Amazing!!!”

THIS IS TRULY AMAZING! TRULY A MIRACLE! Seeing God move in her heart is absolutely the most amazing experience I’ve ever been a part of. The best movie I could ever watch!

Though there is much to still work out in her life and much more to keep praying about, like the Psalm says, “PRAISE THE LORD, MY SOUL!”

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my POWER is made PERFECT in weakness.”
– 2 Corinthians 12:9

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