Tears into Rivers of Laughter
Journal Entry: 11-30-10
OH MY SWEET, SWEET JESUS! Oh my magnificent Master! Oh my powerful and mighty God! PRAISE you! PRAISE YOU, PRAISE YOU, PRAISE YOU!!!!
ONLY you, God…ONLY you!
You have turned my tears into rivers of joy–waterfalls of laughter! I am breathless and in utter awe of you! THANK you for answering prayers around the world for Tenele–prayers from home, prayers form Thembi, prayers from Tenele herself, and prayers from me! Oh, thank you for the army of prayer warriors behind Tenele! Wow!
I cannot stop smiling. I cannot even start explaining what happened todya because I cannot stop praising you! You are amazing! How can anyone turn from you, O Lord? You are so good! So, so good!
At precisely two o’clock, I drove to Mangwaneni (as to respect one of the cook’s advice to me to “never, NEVER walke here alone!”) and waited at the kitchen as littled kids mauled me. Though the kids were more than enough to entertain me and distract me from waiting for Tenele, I couldn’t help but feel a little impatient in my eagerness to see she show up. I waited nearly an hour…no Tenele. I asked one of the older boys to see if she was at “home” but he came back and said she wasn’t around.
I couldn’t wait any longer because another volunteer needed the car. So I left feeling bummed that Tenele didn’t show up after a very promising conversation with her. However, a little while later, I picked up Titi and we were going to go back to Mangwaneni for the afternoon, when I got a phone call. It was a number from a pay phone… Tenele?
“Whey ah you?” Tenele asked on the other line.
“About to go to Mangwaneni…where are you?” I asked.
“Meet me at Nandos,” she replied.
And before I could ask her if she was coming back to Mangwaneni she hung up.
So Titi and I traveled back into town and ventured out to Nandos. As we approached, my heart lept as I saw familiar bright yellow colors–the colors Nomphilo and Tenele have worn many times before. Sure enough, there they were waiting! We exchanged joyful hugs and then Titi and I took them to the mall so I could get Tenele some shoes.
After the mall, they went with me as I needed to run some errands. I offered to make them dinner at my house if they wanted to stay around with me longer. They eagerly agreed. So, back to the volunteer house we went, talking, singing, and laughing along the way.
Once in the house, I showed them my room and gave them some paper and markers and books. They worked eagerly with the art supplies and wrote me wonderfully kind messages that I am hanging on my wall. It was such a WONDERFUL day! While I went in and out of the room to prepare dinner, they worked on the art projects and read some books. Signhild, one of the volunteers, walked in and said to me, “Doing some homeschooling, Mary-Kate?” I beamed. It felt like it, and it felt wonderful. I totally felt like a mother as I prepared dinner and we set the table.
Before we ate, Titi asked who would pray. Tenele volunteered herself. I was quite surprised. She started slow and quiet, praying in SiSwati so I had no idea what she actually prayed, although in the beginning I caught the words “Mary-Kate” and “Titi” and the siswati name for God. But after that, I wasn’t sure. I was just pleasantly surprised she offered.
After dinner, I showed them a card trick and they looked some pictures. But it was starting to get dark, so we headed back to drop them off at Mangwaneni. I didn’t want the day to end, it was so glorious! It was like nothing had changed with Tenele. For the first time in a LONG time, it was like the girls were 14…and not 18. It was incredible. And Tenele said she would come back again to see me the next day.
After we dropped the girls off, Titi and I talked about the afternoon as I drove her home.
“Mary-Kate, Tenele’s prayer really, REALLY touched my heart,” she said.
“Really?” I was surprised.
“Yes…” Titi was deep in thought. “She thanked God for sending YOU to her all the way across the world. She said that she can tell you truly care for her and really want to help her have a better future. Then she prayed for protection over you…so that you can keep helping her.”
Wow! Amen, Jesus! AMEN!
My journal entry says it best:
I cannot even begin to describe how amazing this afternoon was! Instead of crying in the shower and weeping in my room, I was literally laughing in the shower! I can’t take this mile off my face. I totally felt like a mother and I LOVED it sooooo much! At dinner, Tenele asked if I had a baby (jokingly) and I said, ‘No, but I have a child,” and I pointed to her.
“Umtfana wami, (you are my child),” she beamed and agreed.
I think the notecard I gave her with the Zephaniah verse really got to her. And at the end I wrote blatantly as I could: God sent me to you.
THANK YOU, LORD, for changing her heart! Eilidh hust asked awhile ago what happened that made this SUDDEN change and my intial reaction was “I don’t know,” but I DO know! It’s YOU! ONLY you could do this, Lord! I praise you! To you be the glory and honor FOREVER! Amen!