A Mom, Grandma, and Mama to MamasRich Stigall
Fifty-plus years ago, in a rural community outside Lilongwe, Malawi (East Africa), a little girl named Emma was born. She was the 12th child of 12 from her mother and the 36th of 36 children from her father. It’s hard to imagine raising 36 children, but it’s even tougher to imagine this world without Emma.
Emma’s father passed away when she was three. Life was difficult. Emma and her siblings did what they could to help her mother. They worked hard, were up early, and focused on school after other responsibilities were complete.
She met her husband, Peter, in high school. At 17 and 18, they married. Emma describes their first home as having nothing. No furniture. No mats. No curtains on the windows. With a smile she recalls that when they got dressed they had to sit on the floor, so as not to give the neighbors an unintended show. Trite, but true: they only had each other and their faith in God. It was enough, and God began to bless them with children.
By the time Peter took a pastoral position in Tonje, Emma was mother to seven. They all lived in two, small, brick rooms in the back of the church. No power. No water. Concrete floors. Day after day, week after week, year after year, Emma poured herself into her children, her family, her church, her community, her country; and as the kids began to grow up, Peter and Emma began to dream of expanding their family even more…a vision for Pothawira (Safe Haven): a village, with a church, school, and clinic, and homes for orphaned and abandoned children grew in their hearts and minds.
Emma and Peter came to the U.S. and shared their dream with GO Project, Colonial Presbyterian Church, and many others. Leaning in with the same type of faithfulness, day after day, week after week, year after year, Pothawira came to life, and Emma, who is a mother to nine of her own, and a grandmother as well, has added another title. She is a Mother to the ten House Mamas at Pothawira, and in her spare time, has taught herself english.
These Mamas provide 24/7 care for 104 orphaned and abandoned children. Some are infants. Others are HIV+. All of them are beautiful. Emma knows each one by name. She is quick to share a smile, a hug, or a loving word of encouragement. She helps cook their meals. She provides counsel, support, and encouragement to their Mamas. This is Emma’s life; a life well lived, worshipping her Lord Jesus by giving of herself, investing in others, working for her family.
Thank you, Emma, and thank you to great mothers everywhere! We love, respect, and appreciate you!
Happy Mother’s Day!
Your friends at GO Project
– Modified from Ruined for the Average II, God’s Heart for Africa. To get your copy, click here.