About Friends: A Story from Terrorism

Monday afternoons I travel to be with the Women of Worth Group – an organized gathering of mama’s from surrounding slum areas who do table banking, bible study and hand crafts for selling or donating. Generally I enjoy my time with these mamas. I always leave with stories or news of their experiences reverberating in my mind, tugging at my heart. This Monday was no different.

We sit at a round table in an airy hut. After songs and prayer, the mamas pay loans, savings shares and charity offerings; they bring out flannel material to continue making washable sanity pads for orphaned village girls. This is when conversations spark hot and run deep. If I’m not teaching, I usually introduce a scripture in context and ask for thoughts. “What do you think Jesus met when He said,

 'This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends. ‘ " John 15:12-15

An interesting discussion ensues:

Jackie, seriously direct, speaks boldly and laughs with passion: “Jesus wants us to obey Him since He is our friend.”

An even more direct and intimidating Janet huffs her reply: “Friends come and go. They do not obey. They are like vehicles. When one leaves, another will soon come to pick you.”

Everyone laughs. Janet defends her stand, “Is it not true? Yes. It is.”

A rare quietness settles over the group and it seems Janet begins considering how she should reintroduce her idea with a bit more clarity: “You know what happened to the students at the University in Garssia?”  Kenya mourns students.
(Kenya has faced over 50 Al Shabaab terrorist related attacks since 2011.)

All look up from their work, giving sober attention. Janet is referring to the terrorist attack on Mundy Thursday that killed 147 students in a place north east of us, about a two-day journey by bus.

“My neighbor’s daughter was killed.  My neighbor said the terrorists made the daughter call her and say she will never see the daughter again. After the daughter spoke those words – BOOM! It is when they shot her. Aye. My neighbor heard them shoot her daughter. The only girl. The 1st in family to go to University. A sacrifice for her. Imagine. Her daughter.

“Boom.” Janet whispers again slowly shaking her head. The mamas keep tracing patterns and cutting in silence.

Janet continues.

“Friends are like that situation. Hard life happens. People you know, those who love you come and go. You must be with those who can pick you up. Help you live right. I do not want to be dying with badness in me. When I die I want to have goodness. My neighbor. Her daughter had goodness. . Evil does not like good.  That is why she is in heaven now. She was Jesus' friend.”

The mamas listen, nodding their heads in agreement - something that rarely happens. 

As I sliced the black plastic lining with a sharp scissors, I felt the cutting away of ignorance. These women, whom I desired to be with, after years of stateside praying and planning, now surrounded me. I hear them applying verses to their difficult struggles to survive. Once desperately idle, I see them making something useful with their hands to share. Little bags, shoved deep into their bosoms carry extra shillings for their children’s care. My life in USA feels so very far away. All I read and researched sits before me in faces etched by incredible suffering. In the end, they want the same as I do - to bring goodness, to be Jesus' friend.

Please pray for those families who lost their children in a horrible massacre. Please pray for this hurting world to seek the God of goodness and become Jesus' friend.

Asante sana for your love, support and encouragement.
hugs from the haugers Ooo0o