This week in chapel we had a guest speaker. Mama Pauline has no formal education, she is not ordained, she has no non-government organization supporting her ministry, and no government funding to assist her. Mama Pauline does have unshakable faith in the powerful name (authority) of Jesus. And she is fearlessly being used by God to make a difference in her world.
Pauline grew up Muslim in a family of both Muslims and Christians. She wondered why the Christians in her family had love and peace, as opposed to the violence she saw in the Muslims. Her aunt introduced her to Jesus and explained that to have that love and peace in her life, she needed to accept Jesus as Savior. She did accept Jesus, and then the trials began.
Pauline was married to a Muslim who was also a “witch doctor” — not sure how that works, but this is Africa, and anything’s possible! Displeased with her choice to follow Jesus, her husband, using his witch craft skills, sent spirits to disturb her in the night. First it was a cat that entered her dreams, keeping her from good sleep. She asked a Christian friend what to do about it. The friend said to pray! Pray in the name of Jesus for the cat to go away. So the next time the spirit-cat appeared, she prayed, “In the name of Jesus I chase you away!” And the cat left, allowing a full night of restful sleep!
Still determined to frighten her into rejecting Jesus and Christianity, her Muslim-husband-sorcerer called more spirits. Each time, Pauline prayed in the name of Jesus and the spirits left. Each time, faith in the powerful name of Jesus grew stronger and stronger. She suffered countless attacks, and Jesus always saved her. “Now”, she said, “I fear nothing.”
Having been rescued by Jesus from the enemy’s attacks, Mama Pauline lives to rescue street kids in Yaounde. At first she went out into the streets in search of boys who are either orphaned or have been “thrown away” by their families. They wreak havoc in the city, join gangs, and cause trouble. Through her love, care, prayer, and instruction in God’s Word, the lives of street boys are being transformed. She started letting them live in her small house with her. As other boys saw the transformation in their friends, they’re attracted to Jesus through Mama Pauline too. She now has 20 young boys between ages 10 and 17 living with her in her small house. They are a testimony to the transforming power of Jesus. And these transformed boys go out to the streets and bring others to Christ. “I don’t have to go out to look for them anymore,” she said, “they come to me.”
The big challenge for her is educating them. Right now there are 5 who are in school, but just days before her visit to speak at RFIS, the boys were sent home from school due to lack of fully paying their fees. It costs about $160 to put a child through one year of public school here, including books and supplies. There are others in her house who want to go to school, but she lacks funds. She has no full time job, so feeding and clothing them is a challenge. She does teach them skills so they might earn a little, to be self sufficient and not dependent on handouts. She has taught some to sew, and do crafts. She brought these cloth covered bottle cap trivets to sell. Needless to say, all 8 were sold at RFIS in one day, with orders for 50 more!
Her story so touched us, that one teacher, Jordan Cone, got up on stage after her talk. He said, “Here at RFIS we often have opportunity to pray for people and for each other. But now we have a chance to make a difference by helping to support this woman.” He challenged the students to donate what they could in the next 24 hours, and he would match their donation. Soon another teacher raised their hand to indicate they would also match the student donations, then another and another, until the gift would be multiplied 5 times! In the next 1/2 hour some donated cash, others used their meal tickets to donate candy bars (kids know that kids will like chocolate!) In the end, students raised the equivalent of $650! With the matching gifts the total was over $3,000! That’s enough to put all of them in school with more left to buy food, mattresses, etc. God moved greatly through the testimony of this unassuming woman of faith.
Reflecting on the day, Pauline’s testimony, God’s love, Jesus’ power, poverty, destitute homeless boys, the Church — I could write another blog or 5 just on those topics. Mostly, I’m thankful to meet and support Pauline, and others like her who are making a difference among orphans and street kids in African cities. Next, I’m challenged — what if all of us who follow Jesus had the courage of this woman? Would there be problems of homelessness, poverty, crime, etc.? What does it take for us to REALLY believe in the power of Jesus? What if we lived as though we really believed what the Bible says? Does this type of unshakable faith require trials & suffering in order for us to fully rely on God?
Pauline’s testimony brought to mind things like:
Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world.
In my weakness He is strong.
Silver and Gold have I none, but such as I have give I thee, in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazereth rise up and walk!
What does Pauline’s testimony of faith bring to your mind? How does her example challenge or encourage you?