Sunday, November 17, 2013

“The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.” ― Maya Angelou

We have some truly wonderful people working for us, and some have worked for us for over eight years.  The woman in the picture at the right is Edina who has been with us since we moved to this mission.  The land our mission is on was a potato field with furrows when we first came.  When we first started construction of our assembly hall and our own house in January 2006, the plowed furrows made walking and working difficult.  Edina, who was unknown to me but who lived nearby, came to me and asked if I wanted all the land flattened--furrows gone.  She told me she would do it in three days for $10.  I really didn't believe she could do it (she was 50 years old at the time) but told her to go ahead.  She did it in two days, working alone with just a hand hoe.  I paid her $40 and was so impressed that I offered her a full-time job taking care of the grounds.  Every plant, bush, tree, and flower has been selected by her, planted by her, and cared for by her.  We are complimented frequently on the beauty of our grounds, but it is all due to Edina and her work.  She is a devout Catholic and has come to my bedside to pray for me when I had a bad case of malaria.  In her years with us, she has lost her husband and two of her three children.  I have cried with her and driven her to the dentist because she was afraid and stayed with her while her tooth was pulled.  She has one daughter still living, and we have been paying her school fees since 2007.  She has been through high school, a kind of prep school, and is now in university, studying for what we would call a bachelor's degree in nursing.  She has her mother's drive and her faith.  Her daughter, Paulina, plans to get a good job (and she will) so she can take care of her mother in her old age.  Edina is 58 years old now which is exceptional for a woman in this society and can still work rings around all the men we employ.  Her picture (at the right) was taken by Chris Smith, a professional photographer from South Carolina who has been here twice doing mission work.  It captures her spirit beautifully which she has passed on to her daughter.  We are better people for having known her and her daughter.  I have offered to reduce her work days and still pay her the same, but she won't have it.  A truly remarkable woman in whose spiritual shadow I stand. 
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