Better All The Time

Mariama grew up in Sierra Leone, West Africa. Though her grandparents were Christians, she decided to become a Muslim when she got married. But when the Sierra Leone Civil War took her husband, Mariama found herself enduring the arduous life of a refugee not quite sure what to believe.

Later she moved to Fort Worth, Texas and took solace in her daughter Rebecca, son Steven, and “adopted sister” Lorba, and others who had become like family to her.

Everything would be better, she thought, if she could remarry.

Then, she remembered an African song about Jesus that her grandmother had taught her: “Things will be made well when Jesus comes back.” But she wondered, “could Jesus make things better today?”

The apartment complex she now calls home sees 30 to 40 refugees each week. It’s next door to the T.E.A. (Teach, Embrace, Assist) House, a helpful place where American friends come in to teach refugees English, computer skills, and how to get along in the United States. Mariama learned that faith in Jesus compelled some visitors to take time to help her.

She began looking forward to the visits of one couple in particular, Darrell and Cindy Jolley. Mariama was impressed with their compassion. She was also very interested in learning about their faith in Jesus. And yet, Darrell says, “So much of what we did was just spending time together.”

As for Darrell and Cindy, their spiritual journeys began with The Navigators. Because they had received so much from The Navigators, they became key supporters of The Navigators Church Discipleship Ministry (CDM), which helps churches develop disciples who love and care for the lost. Their involvement with CDM is what compelled them to first visit refugees.

When Darrell shared the hope of the Gospel, Mariama trusted Christ, and her whole family soon followed. Today, as Mariama and family are growing in their faith, more from their church family have joined Darrell and Cindy in ministry and are using the Bible to teach reading. Recently, when Mariama read Proverbs 3:5,6 (“trust in the Lord”) for the first time, Cindy recalled that, “She held the Bible to her chest and began to weep. ‘The Bible just touches my heart.’ ” For Mariama, it just gets better all the time!

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