“Consider it pure joy, my brothers (and sisters) when you encounter trials of many kinds, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance…”
I’d like to tell you the story of a woman who might seem forgotten. Many of us probably feel like we’re not seen by others in our situation in life, but in a sweet little house in an obscure part of Yaoundé with little social media, one could really feel a sense of isolation.
Marie-Noëlle is the oldest of nine, growing up in a pretty part of Yaounde, where she learned how to take care of her siblings, barter at the market, clean the house, cook, and bake, all at a young age. She’s now married with 7 year old twins, who are kind, strong, and intelligent, and want to help their mom with everything. She uses all the skills from her upbringing in her work today, along with patient endurance. It might appear as though no one notices what she’s been through or what she does, but we know God sees her and I want to make it known to others.
To protect her privacy, I’m not going to share all that she has faced, including 7 years of infertility, in a country where the desire to be fertile is pushed. I can say that it’s not easy for many Cameroonian women to make a way for themselves, but somehow, by the grace of God in her life, this woman has made a way for her and her family to live vibrantly. She told me you have to pass through the waters of difficulty to get to the other side. When she prays, she knows God hears her. She leaves her requests with Him and offers a sacrifice of praise as the winds of trouble come. Marie-Noëlle often encourages me with her frank advice and care for others. She sees the pain that others face and wants to help them out, even while suffering herself.
God brought her to our house at the perfect moment, and her friendship has given me a greater love for Cameroon. By her actions, she has taught me to stop looking at myself, but to Jesus, to laugh a little more, and not to take myself so seriously. If any of you are feeling discouraged, take a look at the life of Marie-Noëlle and think what God can do with a person who’s suffered many things.