In this life that we are living, I am called Manman (mama in Creole) everywhere I go. Mama Blan (white mom), Mama TaTa (don’t ask…yes it is my nickname here in the village and no, it does not have anything to do with boobs), Mama. That’s a lot of pressure, a lot of blessings, a lot of heartache and a lot of love. Why am I here? Whom do I serve? Where am I going? What do these little ones see in me? And what about my own children…what do their hearts understand about the love a mother has for her children.
God is teaching me about family. About marriage. About parenting. What is it that I want these children to gain while our family is here? Am I purposeful enough with my own children that they can be grounded in their identity in Christ and their place in our family? All the while experiencing the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere?
What about the children that we live life with in the village daily? Can they see hope in our eyes and Jesus in our hearts? Specifically, are they yearning to find out who this ‘Jesus’ is that I tell them loves them so much? Am I yearning to tell them about Jesus?
Wydline has a story. Her life has not been easy…I can see it in her eyes. She lives with a family that has eleven children. She is not one of theirs, but they agreed to care for her after her parents died. She has come over to play a couple of times at our house. She has even been found digging through our trash (our trash is often treasure to others here). Just yesterday, she busted through our door hoping to play and get some food. Her eyes light up when she sees us and she feels a sense of belonging with us. But what is the rest of her story? Does she remember her mother and father? Does she have other siblings? Does she know who Jesus is?
Her little eyes twinkle when she smiles and I tell her that we love her. She often walks through the village barefoot and I let her know that we will bring shoes for her. She has even shown up to our campus for feeding program with only a shirt on. I can get her a shirt…no problem. But when the end of the day comes, can she cry out to the One that can ease her pain and calm her fears? Can she praise the One that gave her life and joy? Does she know that she was created to love and be loved?
Now I know. They all call me Mama, and they all know my voice and my smile. They know how it feels to be picked up and hugged by Mama TaTa. But that is only the surface. There is more. I’m here to know them, to be Jesus to them and carry their joys and burdens straight to Him. If there is ever a day that our family leaves this village, my desire is that all of these children will have an imprint on their hearts. Not mine, but the One who made them. Not for my glory, but for His. My prayer is that all of these beautiful little lives will understand who they are, but most importantly whose they are.