Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Day in the Life of Grace Missionaries

Fenda’s mother, Satou, who’s health had been failing for several weeks now, passed away on Saturday. When Geguuta came by on the Thursday before to work on translation, with a smile on his face he explained that on Wednesday Fenda, her sister Saney (also saved) and their three daughters gathered around Satou’s bed and carefully went over God’s plan of salvation once again. Keep in mind that for the last five years, most Sunday mornings Satou sat in her bedroom while church was going on in the sitting room. She has heard the Word time and again, and has witnessed the changed lives of her family. On that morning she said that she agreed that what Christ did on the cross was for her and she was no longer trusting in her old ways. She asked Fenda to throw away the traditional fetishes that people had brought to help her. We sure rejoiced with that news! So when we got word that she passed away three days later, we continued rejoicing in the knowledge of her true rest. Despite the grief of the loss of their mother from this earth, Fenda, Saney, and a third sister, Yaana who is also saved, are at peace in their hearts.

We also rejoiced when Fenda and her husband, Geguuta, demonstrated their faith in the presence of those that came to the funeral. They explained that they would not be complying with a certain Balanta tradition called ‘Dimbaya’.
To understand the significance of this, we have to go back more than thirty years to the time Satou became a member of ‘Dimbaya’, a women’s society for those who have trouble conceiving. After Fenda was born, there was a longer than usual time until the next child. This prompted the necessary rituals to initiate Satou into the society, a sort of alliance with the ancestral spirits. These rituals include wearing a burlap sack, sitting on and rolling in the dirt, and eating a meal with sand mixed in it. Not long thereafter she began bearing children again and so these children are considered part of the Dimbaya. That would be Saney and Yaana. For the closure of the funeral, the Dimbaya members from surrounding villages came expecting to ‘undo’ the alliance for these two children of Satou. Fenda, with Geguuta by her side, stood before the group and announced that because her two sisters are both trusting in the Savior, God has said, ‘Old things are passed away, all things have become new’ so there was no need to ‘untie’ the alliance. This is the first time any Balanta Christians have had to deal with this cultural clash. The reaction of the Dimbaya society? They said, “This refusal to conform will surely bring some kind of misfortune!”

So we are praising the Lord for a saint who is in the presence of her Savior, and for the steadfast testimony of this family in spite of pressure to continue in the old ways. As a follow up to our last update, share in this joy with us! From Dave & Tippy McKee in Senegal.

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