02 August 2013

We are Going to Eat Food Up With Jesus Some Month Some Day

Tsoho I. sitting in the back of the church
About two weeks before B & E's wedding, a patient came to see me.  Fourteen years ago, his right leg was amputated as the result of a badly infected wound.  For fourteen years he had found independent mobility through the use of a vélo, or a hand-peddled tricycle . . . but over the years his wheels began to breakdown.

The family had scrapped together bits for an improvised fix, but it continued to break.  Apparently it needed a major overhaul.  Wanting to help in some way, I asked if they could bring the vélo from their village . . . he talked it through with his son and his brother.  No, they didn't think that was possible.

'Where do you live?' I asked.

Turns out, we would be passing through his village (about an hour's drive from us on some really rough roads) on the way to the wedding.  Since BoyWonder would be traveling with me, and I thought he would have a better idea of what we would be able to fix in Galmi, I figured it was at least worth stopping and having a look.

We organized the date we'd be passing through, and I promised to call when we left Galmi.
BoyWonder lowers the vélo from the car.

Tsoho I. was sitting on a mat beside the church building when we arrived.  His broken chair was held together with scraps of plastic rope.  BoyWonder was confident that the repairs were all possible, so we promised to stop by on our way home to pick the chair up.

It took a month to get the repairs completed, but finally it was done!  A few test-drives-around-the-parking-lot later and the chair was hoisted back on top of an SUV, ready to be delivered.

We decided to return the chair on a Sunday morning, so as to attend the church in this small community.  Best decision I've made all month!

When we arrived, ours was the only car in the parking lot . . . but that's because no one else has a car.  The pews were short wooden benches, and there was no electricity in the building.  But as we entered, it was clear that despite the physical 'lackings' the joy of the Lord was abounding!

Tsoho crawls to his chair.
For an hour the different choirs sang and danced to the beat of a solitary drum.  It was exactly how I imagine the HausaSection of Heaven to sound!

We were welcomed by the pastor and the whole congregation . . . especially the curious kiddos who stared through most of the service.

Tsoho I. took his usual seat: a mat by the side of the back door.

Being unable to stand, however, did not stop him from participating in the songs of praise to his God.

At the end of the sermon, we were each greeted by name (we had to introduce ourselves at one point . . . hard to blend in such a small congregation).  'Déborah!  Welcome!!  How was your sleep?  How is your work?  How is your house?  We hear goodness that you have come!'

But we didn't come to be warmly welcomed, we came to give Tsoho back his chair.
Doing donuts.

The entire village crowded around the vehicle as the vélo was untied and lowered to the ground.  Crawling from the church to the car, Tsoho I. was transformed into a kid on Christmas morning.

He climbed up into his chair and began to peddle; his grin sprawled from ear to ear.

The village children laughed and cheered as they chased him around, ready to help with a push when the sand got too deep.

Tsoho lead the way to his house where we met his wife, his youngest six children, and his mother.  The whole community thanked us as we wove through the narrow streets between the mud-brick houses.  Tsoho's smile never once leaving his face.

Neighbor kids give a helping hand through the deep sand.
As I greeted his mom, a small wrinkly lady who could no longer stand upright, she began to shout with joy.  She grabbed my hand and raised and lowered it as she bowed in front of me, praising God for this overwhelming gift they had received.

When it came time for us to leave, she took my hand again and said 'Sai wata rana za mu ci abinci tare suma da Yesu!!' (Some day, we will eat together in Heaven with Jesus!) . . . and through the words of this gentle, humble granny, I was reminded that while I may use the means of repairing broken down tricycles, my reason for being here is Jesus.

Mama shares her blessings.



Joyful said...

Praise God and Amen!

Leah said...

Wow. I wonder if they have that blessing in Bambara here in Mali...I LOVE that. Neat.

Erin Pascal said...

This is amazing! A very wonderful news! You and BoyWonder are such a blessing to many people. There's not a lot of people with good heart nowadays so it really makes me happy seeing this and reading these kind of stories. May God continue to bless you both! :)

LauraG said...

That is wonderful! Thank you so much for this blog- I found it when I was living in western Africa through the blog of a friend of yours from language school- and I've been following it for more than 2 years now. It is such a blessing, encouragement, and reminder of what God is doing around the world and the many ways to serve him. Know that God is using you not just in Galmi, but all around the world.

Lisa Cantwell said...

Thank You for sharing this incredible story. It is so encouraging to hear about OT mission and how God is using you to love others. I am an OT myself and would love to do this one day!

Emilio Fernandez said...

Good morning how are you?

My name is Emilio, I am a Spanish boy and I live in a town near to Madrid. I am
a very interested person in knowing things so different as the culture, the way
of life of the inhabitants of our planet, the fauna, the flora, and the
landscapes of all the countries of the world etc. in summary, I am a person
that enjoys traveling, learning and respecting people's diversity from all over
the world.

I would love to travel and meet in person all the aspects above mentioned, but
unfortunately as this is very expensive and my purchasing power is quite small,
so I devised a way to travel with the imagination in every corner of our
planet. A few years ago I started a collection of used stamps because trough
them, you can see pictures about fauna, flora, monuments, landscapes etc. from
all the countries. As every day is more and more difficult to get stamps, some
years ago I started a new collection in order to get traditional letters
addressed to me in which my goal was to get at least 1 letter from each country
in the world. This modest goal is feasible to reach in the most part of
countries, but unfortunately it’s impossible to achieve in other various
territories for several reasons, either because they are countries at war,
either because they are countries with extreme poverty or because for whatever
reason the postal system is not functioning properly.

For all this I would ask you one small favor:

Would you be so kind as to send me a letter by traditional mail from Niger? I
understand perfectly that you think that your blog is not the appropriate place
to ask this, and even, is very probably that you ignore my letter, but I would
call your attention to the difficulty involved in getting a letter from that
country, and also I don’t know anyone neither where to write in Niger in order
to increase my collection. a letter for me is like a little souvenir, like if I
have had visited that territory with my imagination and at same time, the
arrival of the letters from a country is a sign of peace and normality and an
original way to promote a country in the world. My postal address is the
following one:

Emilio Fernandez Esteban

Juan de la Cierva, 44

28902 Getafe (Madrid)


If you wish, you can visit my blog www.cartasenmibuzon.blogspot.com where you can see the pictures of
all the letters that I have received from whole World.

Finally I would like to thank the attention given to this letter, and whether
you can help me or not, I send my best wishes for peace, health and happiness
for you, your family and all your dear beings.

Yours Sincerely

Emilio Fernandez