Riding on the inside of a Land Cruiser in Sierra Leone and sleeping in an air conditioned room, it can be difficult to remember the kinship and common difficulties that span the distance from America to Africa. Over five days, God has endeared us to Ramatu, Peter’s wife, as she’s obliged our translation and relational needs and relevance. Ramatu is a beautiful specimen (or in local vernacular, “fine, fine”) of a woman. Her defined cheekbones frame her wide, almond-shaped, deep, brown eyes and pillowy lips. These, however, hold no flame to her tenacious and hard-working spirit and the fervent desire Ramatu has to pour herself out for the Lord. Raised Muslim, Ramatu came to the Lord in 1998. Since that moment, she’s been shaken by the Lord’s redemptive hand, which snatched her from a hopeless, eternal afterlife.
We were not sure if Ramatu’s body or heart was more exhausted as she plunked her body down on the bench outside of the B.E.E. building in Molambay. We sat on the porch and talked to Ramatu. She revealed the pains in her heart. They were very similar to the weight that every mama I know carries, plus some. As a wife to a pastor, a co-shepherd to the congregations, a Bible teacher, a problem solver, a mom and tutor, a nurse and financial contributor, a sister, a daughter, and ultimately, a servant of the Most High, she is struggling to resolve the roles to carry and what God would have her relinquish. She grieves over the time away from her husband and children, but she is grateful for the provision God’s given her with her job. Once Ramatu and Peter move out of the home they share with their 14 relatives into a family home, with travel time, Ramatu’s nursing job will take her away from home from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Once home, she still assists her children with studies. Housework and cooking will still needs attention; and then, there’s always Peter, whom she loves and adores, and with whom she desires to relationship. Now, factor in the weight of the other roles above, and the time she gives to growing in the Word, Ramatu works on negative time.
Our hearts ached for her, not out of pity, but out of understanding. Understanding to some degree…not of others. To pretend we understand perfectly, would imply the difficulty of this impoverished country are not great. That is not the case. We understand as women. We understand as mothers. We understand as wives and servants of Christ. We understand as laborers. We sat and approached the throne of God together and the time was sweet. There’s no doubt, the Spirit orchestrated her sharing her struggles so we will continue to think and pray for her and her family. Please, commit to praying with us for God’s wisdom for Ramatu to balance work, family, leadership, growth and guiding the women of Molambay.