In the four decades since she became a bride, Maria de Lurdes has experienced the greatest joys and deepest heartaches of life. Marriage, motherhood, the loss of three children, poverty, floods, and the death of her spouse are among the major life events this petite 61-year-old woman has experienced. Yet, tucked deep within her diminutive frame, Maria carries two keys of life – a solid faith in Jesus and a perseverance fuelled by a focus on her Savior. As the sole provider for her family, Maria diligently seeks new opportunities to support her family. WOW – Women for Oppressed Women is lending our support to Maria’s efforts by providing her with a new sewing machine.
Born on Oct. 10, 1955, Maria married in 1978. She gave birth to eight children, but three died when they were still young. Two children died only a week apart, most likely from pneumonia. She discovered the cause only after she was trained in health by the World Relief child survival program. Maria was a World Relief health volunteer when The Chapel first visited Mozambique and her home village of Chaimite. She soon joined the first sewing group to be trained by The Chapel.
In 2012, Maria found herself in a precarious situation. Her husband was not working and continually struggled with addiction to alcohol. The village water committee chose Maria to be one of the women who would sell water at one of the water stations funded by The Chapel. Early in 2013, floods damaged the electric wires supplying the village water pump. Not one to sit idle, Maria got up very early one morning to go to the field where she would weed her maize crop. She invited her husband to go with her and he said he would follow. She returned home later that morning, annoyed that her husband hadn’t followed her as he said he would. Instead, he was lying in the shade next to the house. She thought he drank again. Instead, she discovered that he had passed away.
Maria was left widowed. She would have to fend for herself and her five children on her own. The only income she had was from the water station, but it was not functioning due to the flood damage.
Then there was the opportunity presented by The Chapel to sew some school clothes and sell them. Funds for this microenterprise had been donated by the friends of WOW at its first ever Very Special Purse Party. Maria saw this sewing business as her only hope to earn an income and support her family. Thankful for this opportunity, Maria dedicated herself to make it a success. Even when the group’s teacher stopped training the group, Maria continued faithfully to sew school clothes and even tried new products like dresses, skirts and clothes for new born babies. Maria also sewed ladies’ bags.
Unfortunately, more struggles befell Maria’s family.
One of her daughters returned home after a failed marriage, bringing her four children with her. As the only breadwinner, Maria is so thankful to God and The Chapel for this opportunity to be able to sustain her family. She wonders what she would have done without it. Her only complaint is she doesn’t know how to repair the only machine left, as it does not always function well. Moreover, the remaining machines were sent last year for repair to the Mozambican capital of Maputo. They are not yet back. WOW is stepping in to provide a new machine to Maria, along with instructions on how to make minor repairs. We praise God for this privilege of extending God’s love to a fellow sister in Christ. We pray alongside Maria that Jehovah Jireh will continue to provide for her and her family’s needs.