Tears of Change
After first meeting Tenele, she insisted that I meet this friend of hers who had taken her to church a few weeks back. A man named Sandile, excitedly came over to talk with me about Tenele, so Tenele left the two of us alone to chat. Sandile was amazed at what Tenele had told him about me, and I was amazed at everything Tenele told him about me! Apparently, she left no little detail out; for example, Sandile told me he was so moved that I had cried for Tenele. She had told him a specific instance when I had cried finding her drunk and high. I was shocked that Tenele had told him all of this, because I hadn’t cried in front of Tenele in those moments. But I do remember the exact day when I told Tenele how much I do hurt over her life and I talked and talked and talked at her, sharing my heart, my pain, my tears in trying to help her. It was towards the end of my nine months over a year ago when I had taken her and some other kids to Mlilwane Game Park for a day of fun. She had gotten into one of her “moods” and basically ran away from us at the game park. She claimed she was going to walk home (which was about a 30 minute DRIVE) and refused to get in the car with us. So, I got out of the car, handed the keys to another volunteer and told her to drive ahead and then wait for us. I walked with Tenele side by side but she was so unresponsive. I had told her we weren’t leaving her behind, so if she didn’t get in the car then I would walk with her. She still refused to talk to me, so this is when I talked “at” her, and shared the frustration of my last 8 months trying to help her and how I cried seeing her drunk and high and not wanting to change. She remained quiet the whole time I talked so I had no idea if she even understood my English or what I was telling her. I wasn’t even sure if it was the right thing to share how frustrated I was with her; but apparently it was, because over a year later, she told that to this man, Sandile! It was an example of how God can use absolutely anything as a seed of change!
So Sandile told me how he has been “preaching” to Tenele and encouraging her to change her life. He took her to church a few weeks ago! And he wanted me to join them for church so he could bless me. How amazing! God is so incredible. Not only had I prayed for Tenele but for others to help her change as well. She couldn’t change on her own, so it was amazing to hear about another Swazi with a heart for God who loved Tenele enough to want her to change.
So my teammates and I went to church that weekend together with Sandile, Tenele, Temu, Londi, and baby M-K! It ended up being a FOUR hour long service, but it didn’t feel like it! It was so spirit filled and amazing being able to worship with Tenele next to me and baby M-K with us, too! At the end of the service Tenele wanted the pastor to pray for her, but it was taking too long so we went home to Mangwaneni. I asked her if she’d let us (as a team) pray over her and she nodded anxiously! So we put our hands on her and prayed Swazi style, (all of us outloud at once). When we finished, she had tears streaming down her cheeks. She pulled away from the group and wouldn’t face us. I gently put my arms around her and she turned to me and buried her crying eyes on the crook of my neck. I didn’t know why she was crying but I could sense they were good tears. Tears of change. She let herself cry in front of us all, and it was so beautiful!
I am amazed. I am amazed to my teammates and how every single one of them has welcomed and loved Tenele with open arms. Usually it takes Tenele a long time to talk to and trust anyone, but she trusts my teammates and it’s incredible! Ah, the Lord is faithful! He is active and loving! I am so so so so so so so humbled to be a part of his work in Tenele’s heart. I cannot WAIT to see all the more he will do!
Continue to pray for her and us. We praise God for His faithfulness and FREEDOM!
Praise God for tears of change!