She cries out for help in the midst of the storm. The water is rapidly rising and there is no place to go. Her fear is for her three children trapped in their home. The water is now waste deep, so the family must find higher ground. Her youngest son screams of terror while the family climbs up onto a shelf. Surrounded by water, there is no place to escape, and no one available to rescue them. They stay until the flood waters recede and they pray, “Lord, help us. Keep us safe.”
Meet Mama and her daughters (her son was too shy for the camera).
She tells us this story because the rainy season is approaching. I had asked her if we could pray for her. “Two years ago the floods were very bad. Please pray the water does not come into our home again.”
But this is all they could afford. A few sticks, a few boards and a metal roof.
“Welcome to my humble home,” Mama says in a sweet, bashful way. Her smile warms my heart, and at first site, I know I am going to love this woman. Her spirit is strong and she is filled with joy.
Her oldest daughter’s name is Mary Rose and she is sponsored through Compassion. Mama is proud. Mary Rose, at 14 years old, beams with confidence, joy, and beauty. She wants to be a teacher.
She shares her mother’s spirit. Boldly, Mary Rose tells us her testimony, and I can’t help but admire her deep faith. Mama listens, and I can see the pride in her as she looks at her daughter. Because of Mary Rose, Mama attends church. She sees her daughter’s faith, and she wants it for herself.
“Please sit down,” Mama says to us as she points to the floor. Mama then tells us that where we are sitting is the place she and her husband sleep. “My husband and I sleep on this floor. My family also sits in this place at night and we talk, laugh and tell stories. “
I think about my own family and how much I love to gather around my dining room table to eat, talk and share stories. Precious time. I look down at the cracks in her floor and see the water below. I look up and see this mother smiling, full of joy. I feel conflicted with the scene.
I tell Mama how beautiful Mary Rose is. “Yes, she is beautiful so I tell her to stay away from boys,” she says with wit. We laugh, and I tell Mama about my girls and how we try to keep the boys away too. Mama and I do a high five as we share something in common.
On our way out, Mama looks at us, “I am so very very happy you have come today. I have never had visitors like you before. You are always welcome to my house.”
We walk down the street back to our transportation. I am overwhelmed by the conditions as I look around. The water has overcome these homes and they live this way 9 months out of the year.
I look back at this amazing mom, who lives on less than a dollar a day, and I can’t help but feel humbled by my encounter with her. Poverty might flood this woman’s house, poverty might keep this woman from having a bed, a bathroom, a kitchen, poverty may never allow this woman to leave her community, but poverty can’t steal her joy.
Mama’s prayer for Mary Rose.
“I want Mary Rose to have a simple life, but I want her to be able to live out her ambitions and dreams. All her dreams.”
A mama’s prayer is a powerful weapon against the darkness in this world.