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A Dress For Elana

by Mary Martin

In Guinea Bissau, West Africa, Elana is a tall slender mother of two and the second wife of her husband. It happened that she lived in the house next to the church building where I was staying. I saw her often. Sometimes carrying a basin of water on her head as she brought water from the well to her house to do her laundry. Or heading out to the river with her fishing net in hand. Or returning from the wooded area with fire wood for cooking over an open fire. It was not unusual to hear pounding as soon as it was daylight. If one is to cook, one needs to pound the millet or rice first. 

Sometimes Elana would ask me for an onion, hot peppers or a bouillon cube. On one particular Sunday she asked me for my dress that I was wearing. It is not uncommon at all for people to ask you for just about anything you own that they would enjoy having. I was willing to give her the dress but asked the Lord just how to go about it since my desire was to give her the gift of eternal life.

So on the day I presented my dress to her, with the help of a translator this is the message I spoke. “This gift represents an even greater gift that Jesus desires to give you. This dress is only of earthly value but the gift Jesus gives is life eternal. Our Father in heaven who created you and loves you, desires to give you forgiveness from your sin and guilt, through Jesus who died for the purpose of bringing you this gift. I cannot take you to America but I would like to invite you too a much better place. To heaven, where Jesus is preparing a house for you and me.”

Salvation is the greatest gift. Above all the things you desire, desire Jesus, the giver of the abundant life.

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