The light in us

A woman once mentally ill walks in the light of Christ after five years living in spiritual, mental and physical darkness.

Madeleen Olwage

The first time I met Rayola she was a sad form in a dirty blanket. Her hands were small nervous fists and her eyes were a blank space. She was a confused girl, her whole body shaking with a constant cold. When she tried to speak, only her mouth moved, as if to mimic the miracle of sound, but we couldn’t hear any words.

Our outreach team was told that Rayola suddenly became mentally sick at the age of 18, after a witch doctor put a curse on her. Five years later, she is barely able to take care of herself. Her elder sister is responsible for washing, feeding and clothing her, and making sure she visits a doctor once a month.

Rayola stood before me unsteadily. My smile was met with an empty look. Her arms flopped at her sides, while her sister sat her wobbly body down on the floor. Her sister explained that even though Rayola takes medicine for epilepsy, she believes the problem is far deeper.

We started to pray. The next morning Rayola shared, through her slow and muffled voice, that when we prayed she saw something like light filling her mind. We kept on praying.

During my three-week stay in the village of Okangwati in the north of Namibia, I saw Rayola change. She started to form words and respond clearly to our questions. She dressed herself. She gave hugs. But the greatest surprise was Rayola’s smile. It was beautiful. It was one small proof that the darkness that had been her shadow for so long was slowly disappearing.

One day while we were sitting outside, she suddenly pointed to my eyes and said softly, “You have a light in you.” I told her it was the light of Jesus living in me, and that we were all once in a place of darkness and sickness. The next day she asked for a Bible; she wanted to learn more about this Light named Christ!

This transformation reminded me that even if our faith is as small as a mustard seed, we can move mountains. Nothing will be impossible for us!

At the end of the three weeks, Rayola and I stood with our arms around each other, and I asked her what she wanted to become once she was healthy. She replied in perfect English: “I want to be a nurse.” Then she paused and added, “And I want to be happy.”

We both knew she had finally found her answer to happiness.

Madeleen Olwage, from Namibia, has worked with OM for a few years, serving as a member of one of OM’s ships and then in South Asia. For the last year she has served with OM Namibia.

 

By OM International