If you have read very many of my past posts, you'll recognize Maman Jackie in this photo. The gentleman in the middle is her cousin, Seraphin, and works for MAF here in DRC. Maman Jackie and I have had many occasions to work together and visit with one another at the Mitendi Center and the Bandal Center. She has been a volunteer teacher and mentor at both for a long time.
Some weeks ago, my friend Shermeen told me about a family she was concerned about. Mamicho had no job or home and did not have a way to care for her three daughters. Her husband, gone for years, was presumed dead. She was at the mercy of others and they were living in dangerous circumstances, especially the girls. Mamicho was desperate.
We contacted Maman Jackie, who contacted other ladies in the CBCO Women's Ministry that oversees the Mitendi Center. And we prayed. Shermeen had friends who were willing to help with scholarships for Mamicho and the girls. The ladies were able to work out a plan to give Mamicho and her daughters a four-person dorm room to themselves. Mamicho was given a part time job on the Mitendi campus and is attending classes to learn to be a seamstress. The girls have all been enrolled in school. They now have food to eat, a safe place to sleep, and people who are helping them start a new life. They will also hear the gospel and receive biblical instruction and discipleship. I am still amazed at how God wove this story long ago, introducing me to Jill, who connected me with Maman Jackie. Then we moved to the TASOK campus and I got a chance to get to know Shermeen and was able to connect her with Maman Jackie.
After Mamicho's family had time to settle in to their new home and routines, Shermeen and I, and our friend Ann, paid a visit to Mitendi to deliver some sewing supplies for the center, and to check on Mamicho and give her some clothes for the girls.
Mamicho was excited to see Shermeen and to meet the rest of us. She was eager to tell us how well things were working out for her and the girls and how grateful she was.
I was very happy to once again get to visit Mitendi. It had been a long time. Papa Bienvenue greeted me and said "You are home!" I also really enjoyed helping him give Ann and Shermeen a little tour and explain the ministries that are in place there.
Mamicho's older two girls are attending a secondary school, but her youngest is in the primary school at Mitendi Center.
Greeting the older girls. Besides learning job skills, the girls in the Mitendi program also have remedial education, literacy training, counseling, Bible class, and life skills classes.
These are mole crickets. They are about five times the size of regular crickets in the U.S. and they make a LOT of noise, starting at about dusk and going all night long. Some kids had dug these up and were selling them for food, after inflation they cost about a dollar a dozen. In case you wonder, the preferred preparation method is to fry them in hot oil. I did not buy any, but Maman Jackie did.
Maman Jackie, Mamicho and her daughters, and Shermeen. Please keep them in your prayers. Especially pray that Mamicho and her girls will come to know Christ, Defender of Widows and Father to the Fatherless.
This visit was bittersweet for me, because we are moving (explanation HERE in our latest newsletter) and it was my last visit. I am grateful that I had a chance to see Maman Jackie, Papa Bienvenue, Maman Excellente and the other staff members one more time and say goodbye to them, but it was hard to do. I will miss them.