We laughed about how the road had deteriorated from the rain as the car leaned to the right on the sandy back-roads. We squeaked past the sideways growing coconut tree, forming an uncomfortably close “bridge” over the only passable part of the road. We rounded the government building, proudly displaying the Mozambique flag on it’s flag pole. How interesting to find the government building out there, tossed right into a neighborhood. I wondered which one came first as we pulled off and parked near the woven palm-branch fence.
Out came four little girls, bounding down the familiar path. “I can’t see him,” they strained to look past the laundry dancing in the breeze. She used a broken piece of a mirror as she picked and styled her hair with the little one cooing on the mat at her feet. Her smile was huge when she caught glimpse of the girls bounding past the clean diapers on the line.
She jumped up to grab us chairs. The girls all went straight to the mat to coo at the baby. “Isn’t he so cute?” They called out his name, let him grab their fingers and his whole face radiated with delight when he focused on their faces. I love that our stories are so inter-twined. I still remember that phone call at nearly midnight. How Matt drove our guard and his wife to the hospital in time to welcome their first child. And this little guy there at all our feet, how we all rejoiced at his welcome to our world. How we celebrated his first day at church when we could all marvel at his little precious self that God had given us all, his community.
Shoes were instantly flung aside as the girls dug into the sand with their toes and found some stray items with which to start an adventure. Mountains were formed in the sand, paths etched out by an unrecognizable metal object they found, and they proceeded to frolic about in the “yard”, adhering to the natural boundaries of the beaten dirt borders.
There was no agenda. No necessity to our visit. No business to discuss. And suddenly I realized that we had arrived at the very moment in which I had yearned for over a year of language learning. We were just visiting friends. Here in our home city. And it just was normal.
We were rolling with laughter over stories of learning to drive the stick-shift on the opposite side of the road here in Moz. We listened to shared life challenges and encouraged this dear sister. We bounced from topic to topic as we passed around the baby. Oh that smile he imitates. It’s almost as addicting as just being there, with our friend, doing the normal together.
And when the time came, we walked together to our car, saying goodbye along the way. Four girls bounded to give hugs and say goodbye to our friends. One hug for my friend. One hug for the baby. They waited patiently as they made eye contact with him before they said goodbye. Promises to come again soon and “See you in a few days” were exchanged. Windows were rolled down as the girls waved to a group of kids nearby the car as we backed up. Smiles exchanged and a little greeting. Eden cupping a treasure in her hand as she bounced in the back seat.
I uttered a prayer of thanksgiving on our drive home. Thankful for my friend, praying our friendship would grow stronger. And thankful for her wonderful little baby. And four little girls who my friend just adored watching gawk over her son. Thankful that Eden had felt comfortable enough to stumble over asking in Portuguese if she could bring home a fake earring pearl that she had found in my friend’s yard. How Rachael had smothered that little baby in love and kept him content for thirty solid minutes. How he just lit up watching her face, locking eyes and using every ounce of his energy down to his toes to coo at our Rachael. And just how the time flew until it felt like we were leaving far too soon despite the passing time.
How richly He blesses us. What a beautiful Body of Christ we find.
Right here on the deteriorating sandy back-roads
In our Mozambique.