I haven’t seen them in three months, and they are the same. Real. This is what I like best about meeting them. They are who they are. They bring with them matters they currently live with. They talk about them. And that’s not always the case here. More often not.
It is thanks to the missionary who started meetings with several women from the village over four years ago. She used to come back regularly. She listened. And she sat down with them on the ground. This is how she opened her way to them. And to anyone who joined those meetings for a shorter or longer time. Like me.
That day, she cleaned their nails with a nail polish remover, I painted them, and they were just present. I’ve been thinking about who has been good to them lately? When could they sit down and not work for someone? For children? For husbands? To waste time just for themselves.
First, I asked what they liked best about those meetings that will never come back in this form. We will visit them once a month.
Mama A. said that she did not know which letter was A and which was B before, and now she knows. She knows others too. And that she can write them. Mama M. liked stories about Jesus. And to sew together. Mama R. that she could get out of the house for the time that was only for her. And mama W. liked those meetings the most where you could eat something.
Then I asked who Jesus was to them. I asked who He is personally for each of them. I didn’t mean any correct answer. I wanted to know honestly. Who is He after these four years of meeting together? Is He a prophet? Is He God? Is He a savior? Is He a friend? Is He one of the characters of the Bible? Or the Koran?
But I guess I got a definition after all, not a heart. I asked with my imperfect Portuguese. An older woman who also doesn’t know Portuguese well. She, in turn, explained my question to women who only know the Makua language. How we understand one another only the Holy Spirit knows. And I believe that He explains to us what cannot be covered by words and meanings lost during the change from one language to another, from one culture to another.
“Savior”, they answered most often. And one could usually suspect from the manner of speaking whether this savior was for her or for someone else. Only mama R. rolled her eyes and I really appreciate that eye-rolling. Because it was her soul that rolled the same as those eyes. And she didn’t hide it.
Wherever we show up, we have the same message. About unreasonable love that led God to the cross. About the perfect sacrifice of Jesus – paid once and for all what a man owed through the sin he had committed. About a new life in freedom that begins right after we put it to faith. We have the same message but we explain it differently each time.
And just when mama R. rolled her eyes several times, we were able to repeat this message again. The way the women in northern Mozambique needed at that moment: “Chicken’s blood is not enough to pay for sins.” The author of the letter to the Hebrews explained the gospel in the same way: “For it is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.” (Heb. 10:4) For as in that time and that culture, as today in Mozambique, people have an understanding of sacrifice and shedding blood. And this concept must be referred to in order to understand the gospel. And explained that the blood of animals is not enough to pay for sins. Jesus’ blood was enough. For all the sins of all people, forever. Perfectly.
I like the way the Holy Spirit tells you what to say and to whom. With Him we are more comfortable in the impossible.