16 Dec Assignment No. 1; “Fatma”
It’s 2.16am, one early morning, shortly after my conversion.
I am sound asleep, snoring contentedly, as only a baby Christian can.
Suddenly, I find myself awake, my mind strangely fresh and alert.
For a moment I wonder why I’m awake, as I cannot see or hear anything unusual.
Then I remember the words of my mentor, an elder Christian woman.
If the Lord ever wakes you up in the middle of the night, get up and pray!
So I dutifully lift myself off the bed, shuffle to my prayer room and pray.
For only a few minutes though; I’m just a baby Christian, my friends.
I head back to bed, yawn, settle back into my pillow and try to sleep.
But then, something unusual begins to happen.
I begin to hear a “buzzing” in my ears.
My mind becomes extremely alert.
And I start to hear other things.
I hear them so clearly, it’s as if my eardrums are on a higher frequency.
I hear the rain falling, the baby coughing, the cistern filling – everything – clearer than I have ever heard it before.
I begin to realize that the Lord is doing something.
I try hard to stay awake but, despite my best intentions, drift peacefully off to sleep.
And there, in the realm of dreams, begins an experience like I have never had before.
I begin to dream.
And in this dream, I am in my car, seated right at the back, behind the driver.
The car is moving, and fast! So fast, I feel like my head is spinning.
Presently we come to a stop.
We are at a place I have never been to before; it is a block of houses, neatly lined up in a row.
I get out of my car and walk purposefully towards the last one, the one on the left. I know exactly where I am going.
Inside the house, I find an elderly woman.
She is dressed in traditional lessos and there are two or three other people with her.
As soon as I go in, one of the others, a young lady, holds the woman gently and helps her bend forward.
She lifts the woman’s lower lesso carefully, and the two of them show me her left foot.
There is something wrong with it – but they do not reveal exactly what.
After this I leave, and as I do, I begin to ask passers-by where I am.
Somehow I know that I am to come back and find this woman when I wake up.
But no-one is willing to tell me where I am, so I look around, keenly taking note of my surroundings.
I simply must find this place when I wake up! I say to myself.
The dream slowly comes to an end and I wake up.
When I arose from this dream, dear reader, I took some time to write everything down.
I noted every single thing that had happened and every single place I had seen.
Incredibly, I understood exactly what the Lord was saying to me.
This was to be my first assignment. I was to find this woman and help her.
So later that week, I gingerly mentioned to my husband that I needed to go somewhere, carefully avoiding some details.
The state of my marbles was still somewhat in doubt you see, having recently declared myself a Labourer in the Vineyard!
And so off I went, to this place that I had never seen, with only the memory of my dream to guide me.
And on that very day, I managed to track down that same neighbourhood, by following some landmarks I had noted in the dream.
I drove around carefully, looking this way and that, for more clues that might lead me to the woman’s house.
But after one very frustrating hour, I finally gave up and went back home, tired and confused.
I was still very sure of what I had seen, and even more convinced that there was an elderly woman somewhere in that neighbourhood that the Lord wanted me to help.
But, oh, how frustrating this was!
I couldn’t tell anyone what I was doing, lest they brand me certifiably insane, but at the same time I simply was not willing to give up.
So after a few days, I sat down again and carefully considered the details of the dream.
I mapped out the drive from my home to this neighbourhood, diligently taking note of each detail.
And this time when I went back, I drove right up to another landmark, and found myself inside the home of a friendly, middle-aged woman.
She quickly welcomed me into her home, African-style, and listened patiently to my story.
I confided that I was looking for an elderly woman who was unwell and lived in her neighbourhood.
She was short and dark, I explained; she most likely wore traditional lessos, and was living with relatives.
Happy to help, my newly-acquired friend asked what the name of the woman I sought was.
I don’t know, I realized, somewhat belatedly.
The Lord, it seemed, had neglected to let me in on this small detail.
How do you know her? She continued.
Well, I began hesitantly, I had this dream..
Suffice it to say that it did not go very well after that.
My now former-friend and her neighbor promptly chased me out of that house like a common criminal.
Hawa ni wale watu wana jifanya ni wa Christo, lakini ni wezi; I heard them say.
Goodness! I had never been called a thief in my entire life! How could it happen now, when all I was trying to do was serve the Lord?
But I had no choice but to get back into my car and go home.
I was extremely discouraged and more than a little afraid.
I decided that I would not go back to that neighbourhood until the Lord gave me this woman’s name.
And I vowed to fast for three full days, taking only liquids, until He revealed her name to me.
As soon as I got home, I trudged dejectedly into the kitchen and made myself a cup of coffee.
And I began to pray.
Father! I cried
You saw how I was kicked out of that house.
I am scared and discouraged, and I don’t know how to find this woman.
Now, Lord, I will fast for three days.
Please, please have mercy on me and give me her name at the end of those three days.
What happened next was simply incredible.
Fatma; He swiftly replied.
I couldn’t believe it!
I just could not believe it!
The Lord had never, ever answered any of my prayers so quickly.
I was delighted, amazed and completely floored.
And a week later, armed with this new info, I was able to find Fatma, seated quietly in the house I had seen in my dream, right there at the end of the row, in that last house on the left.
A pleasant, kind lady with beautiful eyes, the colour of which I could never quite determine.
Greyish-brown, I think.
Fatma was about seventy years old at the time, and was living with her adult son in his home.
She was ageing and ill, and needed medical attention constantly.
Someone somewhere, I believe, had been praying and the Lord our God, always full of grace and mercy, had heard that prayer.
So that night, as I lay in my bed, He had allowed me a glimpse into her situation, through that incredible dream.
And to my utter amazement, when I finally did find Fatma, I discovered that she did indeed have a problem with her left foot.
It was an angry, wet wound that would not respond to any medication, for one inscrutable reason or other.
But even more serious was the fact that she had recently suffered a stroke, and was now in the process of a slow, protracted recovery.
Fatma’s son had been taking care of her and was now at a point where he needed help, both financial and otherwise, to enable him continue to make her life comfortable.
So over the next two years, my husband and I stood with Fatma and her son, as she slowly recovered from these and other ailments.
We helped willingly whenever called upon, and gave as generously as we could, whenever needed.
And through this wonderful, divinely-orchestrated relationship, I was able to watch and learn as the Lord took care of this family during their time of need.
It was truly a powerful lesson for one newly-minted Labourer, a lesson that I continue to treasure to this very day.
What a Great and Mighty God we serve, and May His name forever be praised!
(*Fatma’s name has been changed. All other events are recorded exactly as they occurred).
My Testimony Part 1: If Jonah is in Your Boat
My Testimony Part 2: After the Tempest
Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know. Jeremiah 33:3