Thanksgiving is a time to really step back and be grateful for all of our blessings. One thing I am extra grateful for is God’s grace and the transformation it brings in our lives.
Mawu is always the life of the party. Her scrunchy nose wrinkles with giggles and her joyful voice leads the way to laughter, dancing and song.
I was sitting in the middle of the children sharing bites of nsima and beans when I looked up to see Mawu coming toward me. Not my Mawu, though. Not the happy, dancing Mawu. She was tired and thin. Deep sadness was etched across her face. The children parted to let her through. Somehow they understood that she needed to get close to me. She sat down as close as she could but not quite touching. Slowly she began to eat.
“How are you, Mawu?” I greeted her. “Okay,” she said. One bite went into her mouth.
“Why are you so sad today?” I asked her. She stood up and shoved her unfinished plate of food into a nearby child’s hand.
“It’s a long way back to where I’m staying,” she said and started to leave.
I jumped to my feet. “Oh, no you don’t. You are not going anywhere till we sort this out.”
Earlier that month, Mawu’s grandmother had decided she could no longer feed or take care of Mawu and her big sister, Matrida. She sent Matrida to the city to live with an aunt, but no one took Mawu. She chased Mawu away from her house. “Leave,” she screamed. “Find someone else to take care of you. I’m old and tired and there is no more food. Get out!” Mawu ran away to the forest. She scrounged for roots and a bit of corn. Eventually she found her way to a distant village where her father lives. Her stepmother took a stick to beat Mawu. “Get out!” she yelled. Finally, Mawu’s father took a little food and gave it to her to cook. He told her she could sleep outside on the porch of the house if she wanted to.
Mawu looked up at me as we went to find Pastor Phiri. A flicker of hope flashed in her eyes.
Did you see that? Even just in this story, we see a transformation in Mawu’s life. What we don’t see here is another precious moment we had with Mawu. A few years ago we brought a precious little girl in to Timothy’s Home. She was crying, upset and very sick, but Mawu reached out and wanted to hold her. When Mawu held Chrissy in her arms she whispered, “Don’t worry, I looked just like you when I came here. You will be okay.” She remembers where she is from, but has hope in what can happen at the Grace Center. We give thanks that God is leaving his fingerprints of grace and transforming the lives of children like Mawu.
Mawu, I see God’s fingerprints of grace in your scrunchy smile, may Jesus always fill your heart with the hope that is only found in Him.
Mawu, we thank Jesus for giving you hope and for your spirit to share that hope with others who you interact with.
Jeremiah 29:11- Jesus knows the plans He has for you, and they are going to be great!