September 29, 2021
Children and families gather in front of the village church
Children of the church, "Mango Whisperers"
Joanna Griffin with Rev. Famoroso
“The Mango Whisperers” I called them. Before dawn broke on Quessua mission, small feet were running on tiptoes outside my window. Through the neighboring mango groves that surrounded the small dorm where the four of us slept, were scattered whispering children, eager to find the fruit that had fallen during the night. Like some secretive Easter egg hunt, they ran here and there picking up the orange and green mangos. The first sweet treats were theirs to enjoy as breakfast, but the majority were lugged home in a basket for their older sister or mother to sell along the road or at market … . Children, upon whom this was an element for providing for the family, made it a predawn game.
Our UMVIM team of four women spent a number of days out in the remote villages and with their churches. We met with small groups and pastors, some of whom had never received missionaries. These pastors are recipients of Mountain Sky salary support and who welcomed us richly with singing and thanksgiving. We spoke and shared stories and danced and prayed and wept and visited in village homes. When we asked if they were able in any way to support the salary of their pastor, the same reliable response came again and again. “We are poor peasant farmers. We have nothing to give.” This phrase seemed to echo all around.
With great rejoicing we were led through a village in a long parade to the home of their chief who humbly spoke words of gratitude for our presence, for the relationship offered and for the support of their pastor. And then came another urgent plea—“Please do not forget us.”
The zeal of the young pastors is palpable and brought within me a new promise to carry this torch, to speak, to be in relationship. Relationship continues … now … ongoing.
- Joanna Griffin