Thursday, January 3, 2013

Tears of a Woman Named Agnes

I've been thinking about sharing this story on my blog since I arrived home from Kenya
about six weeks ago.

It's Agnes's story - a shy, young Masai woman that lives in an isolated area of Kenya
called Mbogonia.

It was our last afternoon working in the area.   Our team divided up into three groups and
headed off in opposite directions to do a home visit.    As God would have it, my group
trekked off on a footpath to Agnes's hut - a short distance away.  I was about to have an
encounter I don't think I'll ever be able to forget.

We brought some tea, and sugar and a bible printed in Agnes's language as a
welcoming gift.  She  was shy and a little guarded with us at first.  When I think about
it though --how strange we must have seemed to Agnes.   Six Americans.....bounding
toward her home.   I'm sure it was quite an experience for her too.

Our plan that afternoon was to build a relationship.  We came to meet Agnes and her
family and to help her with household chores.   It was clear right away that she was
there alone with her children.   Unlike the outgoing kids we had been playing with and
loving on all week, Agnes's children seemed much more withdrawn.    They remained a
good distance away, at the back of their home while we were there.

Agnes has a family dog -- and some chicks.  Her place is neat and well kept.

Agnes shared tea with our group and made us feel very welcome. With the help of our
interpreter, she soon shared with us that she was a believer.    As we asked if there
was anything we could pray for her about, she told us about her abusive husband.

He was gone for long periods of time, so the responsibility of running her home,
taking care of her children and all the animals fell on her.  Agnes has five children.
Her husband won't allow any of the children to go to school -- and he forbids Agnes
from going to church.

As she opened up more, she shared that the last time she was able to attend
church was last Christmas Eve.   She went to a special service at a nearby church.
When her husband learned she was there, he drug her out of the church building
in front of all it's members -- and stoned her.

Agnes said that her husband was once a believer too, but had hardened his heart
toward God and toward her.   She asked that we pray that God would soften
his heart again - and that she would be able to return to church.

We prayed over Agnes.  I was sitting on a low wooden bench beside
her when the prayers began.   Our interpreter repeated our prayers in Agnes's
language so she could understand.   Almost immediately, Agnes buried her face
in the young baby she carried on her hip - and began to sob her heart out.

The memory of her sobs that afternoon is something I don't think I'll ever forget.

As the prayer finished, we were all crying with her.

That afternoon, we shoveled cow dung around Agnes's hut and drank chai tea out of
her tin cups.  Scott told me later it was the most satisfying day of work he had ever

Before we left an hour or so later, we prayed with her again -- this
time joining hands with her in a circle.   As she held our hands - her tears dropped onto
the ground below -- like rain.

What difference did we make there that afternoon?  I believe Agnes was encouraged
that we cared.  She believed we were sent by God to her -- and I saw a smile on
her face before we left.    The Bible that we brought had to come back with us.
She said she couldn't keep it.   Her husband would never allow it.

If there was a difference made that day, it was made in each of us.  We were impacted
by Agnes.   By her plight in this world and her burden.

Do this for me if you will.    If you've read this blog and have seen Agnes's face,
would you commit to pray for her?    Pray for her to be encouraged.   Pray that God
will work in her husband's life.  That He would change her husband's heart.  that
the children would be allowed to attend school -- and that Agnes and her children
can return to church.

She's a real person in a very hard circumstance.

I bet if Agnes knew that believers on the other side of the world were praying for her
right now, that smile would return to her face -- and she would look up to God in that
HUGE African sky -- and cry to Him in thanks.

Pray.     And remember her story.      It's staying with me.

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