My first morning in Pemba, I was In the hammock reading quietly and enjoying the sunrise when a parade of beautiful Mozambican mamas came and sat on the edge of my porch. I greeted them in my limited Emakua. ‘Selama! Mohavo? Kihavo!’ One of the ladies rushed to my side, put her arm around my shoulder and asked my name in Emakua. She smiled, ‘Kaysha y Zura, amigas!’ I don’t know why this made us instant friends, but I was thankful for the quick acceptance as her amiga.
Zura is one of 12 ladies at our base hired to do laundry for the staff here. This is an amazing opportunity for these women to have jobs as it is extremely difficult for Mozambican women who don’t speak English to find work in the city. They meet at my porch every morning to gather the laundry and wash and sing, a true highlight to my day as I’m journaling and reading above.
Every chance she could get, Zura would come to my side and chat in mixed Emakua and Portugese even though I could not understand most of what she was saying, I felt her hunger to understand and relate. I would read verses from the Bible to her in English as well, knowing she couldn’t understand. But it didn’t matter. We were amigas.
One day we happened to cross paths outside the gate. Yay! It was her day off from work! She grabbed my hand and took off for the village. I assumed she wanted me to meet her family she had described to me briefly.
Approaching her house she was greeted by three beautiful daughters. Gloria, Narzesa, and Jesuina. Zura spread a mat outside in the dirt and motioned for me to sit.
The girls scrambled on top of me, touching my face, stroking my hair, stealing my sunglasses and laughing at everything I said. Before I knew it I had braids in my hair and the little one had adopted my Portugese dictionary as her own picture book. My heart was completely undone as Zura indicated that she was a single mother providing for these babies on her own the best she could. Her middle child, Narzesa, had a concerning laceration on her foot that was sticky and muddy with flies landing around the cut. I helped her wash the foot, and put clean band-aids over it that I had with me. I felt the smallness of what I had to offer against so much need.
That week someone left a Portugese Bible at our house accidentally. I snatched it up and began journaling verses to Zura.
“For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” Then Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” – John 6:33, 35
She loved the Word. She was glowing with a new brightness in her eyes. So much so, that we began writing notes back and forth in the journal every morning. Then this message broke my heart. She asked if there was any way I could help her family with my two hands. She barely makes enough income in a day to bring home food, much less to pay her rent and clothe her children adequately.
I knew this was coming. If it was myself in her shoes as a mother, how could I not ask for help?
I prayed desperately for a way to answer her. I continued to give her verses and promised I would ask God to give me wisdom as I am very small on my own.
The next morning I felt God gave me a picture that He wanted to heal Narzesa’s foot. He wanted to affirm and assure Zura and her family to know Him as their protector and provider and that they can run to Him to meet ALL their needs. He is such a good, good Father.
I held the word in my heart and prayed about who I could ask to go to her home and join me with great faith in prayer for this healing that would be a new sign of love and his goodness.
I felt God highlight Leo and the boys. It was part of His plan for them to pray for their own neighbor. I asked the boys the next day and they readily agreed to meet the following evening to go to Zuras house.
I wish I could describe the power of prayer in her home that night. The presence of God was overwhelming as Leo prayed. I was expectant to see radical healing, still the cut appeared the same to me. Leo confidently told me we were done and that it would be healed.
Before leaving, we washed Zura’s feet to honor her in her home. She received all of this in honest humility and with light, grateful tears.
“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” – Romans 8:31-32
The next morning I gathered my housemates to visit Zura. We brought bread and peanut butter and I also brought her a Portugese Bible I was able to get my hands on.
As soon as we rounded the corner of the path to her house the girls came out running! I scooped them up in my arms, trying to catch Narseza long enough to look at her foot. If only I had a photo to show the extent of the injury before– her foot was completely healed and the wound covered with new skin!!
Wow! Thank you Jesus our Healer! Zura pulled out the welcome mat and we praised God together! All of us laughing and hugging and talking over one another. Every day since, Zura is praising God. Their circumstances haven’t changed, but their spirits are full of hope and their eyes filled with joy.
“Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” – Jesus