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K... is a woman who arrived on my doorstep in Burkina Faso one day with her 2 year old son, Ali. She had run out of food and had no money. We chatted a little and I found out that her husband had died last year (from AIDS). She supports Ali and two older daughters by doing odd jobs. I gave her some sweeping work and her gratitude was almost embarrassing. "I wonder if this woman knows that God loves her and cares about her struggles," I thought.
After she'd swept, I asked K... about her faith. She said she was Muslim. She had never heard anything from the Bible but she was willing to listen. I started with the story of Creation. The Global Recordings cassettes and picture books are so helpful in such situations. I played some of the Good News cassette in her language of Gourma, then went over it again to make sure she'd understood. We decided K... could come and sweep my yard twice a week and we'd look at more of what the Bible says.
I have never met an adult so fascinated by the Old Testament stories. By our second get-together K... told me this was the 'way' she wanted to follow. "Hang on a minute," I thought to myself, "you haven't heard about Jesus yet!" But eventually she did and her enthusiasm didn't waver. She put her trust in Jesus and is learning to follow Him. She has changed from a fearful, anxious woman, to one who radiates joy - and her simple faith is infectious.
I have since found out that K... herself has AIDS, but now she has hope and courage because she knows Jesus is walking with her in this trial and she has real life in her that's going to last beyond death.'
Jenny Fallon is an Australian nurse, and SIM's coordinator of 'HOPE for AIDS' in Burkina Faso, West Africa