Adapted from an account written by Joanie Troester, who serves with her husband, Joel, in Mozambique.
Our houses sit 25 yards apart, but in many ways our worlds could not be further apart. My husband and I sleep on a bed, while Adela and her six siblings sleep on straw mats on the cement floor. We have hot and cold running water in the house. Her family has a spigot in their yard they use to fill barrels of water.
God’s training ground
Though her life is void of the conveniences we all take for granted, I really don’t know anyone as thankful and content as Adela. While I would consider her family dysfunctional, she would say it’s God’s training ground for learning to trust Him.
“None of us know what my father does with his salary as a teacher; with money from recycling plastic, paper, and glass; or money from selling goats,” Adela has said. “But God knows, and He takes care of us.”
For a few years, Adela and I taught the junior-age children together. I was always amazed as she wove Mozambican culture, from a child’s viewpoint, into her lessons. Bible truth captivated us all as we listened, and God’s Word came alive and practical.
Grace sustaining her in pressure
Adela trusted Christ as her Savior almost seven years ago at age 15. After high school, she weathered three years of dorm life under much pressure from peers to cheat, lie, and live immorally; under pressure from teachers to pay for her grades; and under pressure from her father to submit to witchcraft practices.
Twice when the family witch doctor was sick with malaria (for some reason, witch doctors can’t cure themselves, only others), Adela went to help her for a few days and to share the gospel with her and her husband. “I was afraid to talk to them about the Bible, but God gave me the courage, and they listened and asked questions. They weren’t even angry that I don’t participate in the sacrifices and rituals anymore,” Adela said later.
Loving her enemies into friends
God’s grace in Adela’s life has borne much fruit. Some of her greatest persecutors from her dorm years have come to Christ and are now her dearest friends. One former fellow student, Justino, accepted Adela’s invitation to visit our church. Last night at church he told us all that, after several months, he finally understood the gospel message. He put his faith in Christ last week.
Though the rest of her siblings have bowed to the pressures of their dad and traditional witchcraft thinking and practices, Adela loves them, serves them, and prays that they would one day choose to trust and follow Christ.
I am so thankful that God chose to reach down into the African culture in this place and draw one young girl to Himself.
He is her Rock.