I LAUGHED at the “Mama Bear” display of Mother’s Day gifts in the card store. If you’re a mom or know a mom, you know it’s true – like mother bears we are passionately fierce, loving, protective, and always there for our cubs and family. It’s what we do.
The moms I know in the Majority World countries where Climbing For Christ serves don’t have a clue about Mother’s Day. They aren’t showered with Hallmark cards or treated to brunch. No breakfast in bed. No extravagantly wrapped gifts to open. No flowers delivered.
Most of the time the moms I know in places like Malawi, Nepal and Turkey struggle to keep msema/rice/bhat on the table to feed their families. It’s what they do. Day after day, 365 days a year.
I fiercely love these moms who have taught me that even though we don’t speak each other’s languages, we are united globally by hundreds of common mom threads. Let me introduce you to a few of these women with whom I’m woven together in my heart:
The moms of the Mothers & Babies Center, Migowi, Malawi
Mothers in Malawi reacting to the Climbing For Christ team’s greeting. (Photos by Gary Fallesen)
They sit patiently in rows of concrete benches with as many children as flies swirling all around, smiling and singing to welcome us as we prepare to open a Climbing For Christ medical clinic in this remote African bush village. For three days we see as many patients and dispense as much medicine as possible. And we give them something more. We pray over each patient seen, and to moms with newborns we give bags of simple gifts – baby ointment, shampoo, clothing and a wash cloth. These moms just want what all moms want – good health for their babies.
Hannah Rokka of SARA Home, Kathmandu, Nepal
Hannah working with her youngest daughter, right, and one of the many children in her care in Nepal.
She is mom to two lovely daughters plus 30 orphans on the outskirts of Kathmandu. Hannah and her husband, Karna, oversee daily operations at SARA’s Home for orphans taken in by Karna’s brother and Climbing For Christ ministry partner, Pastor Tej Rokka. Sponsors of C4C’s Project 1:27 (based on James 1:27 – to look after orphans) provide monthly financial support that helps Hannah feed, clothe, provide shelter and schooling, and present the love of Jesus. Hannah stands courageous in the face of persecution from a dangerous government quickly escalating efforts to squash Christianity and punish believers. The youngest girls at SARA Home eat and sleep at Hannah’s house (a pajama party every night!). Hannah just wants what all moms want – for all the children in her care to grow up fed, clothed, and knowing that their Creator, the God of the Bible, loves them so much.
Kurdish families living on and around Mount Ararat, Turkey
Elaine teaching children how to make Gospel bracelets with help from a translator in the tent of a semi-nomadic Kurdish family on Mount Ararat.
When you are invited into a Kurdish tent on the slopes of Mount Ararat, it’s a big deal. You are being accepted into an entire Muslim family. Thanks to my daughter Hayley having laid the groundwork the year before I served on Mission: Ararat, I was welcomed with open and loving arms by moms at every tent. “You’re Hayley’s mom? Come in!” As we sipped tea, the door was opened for me to share “Isa” (Jesus Christ in Islam) with translation help from none other than our Muslim trekking guide. Everyone – moms, kids, dads, even our guide – together made Gospel bracelets that explained the Bible from Genesis to Revelation in five colored beads. These moms want what all moms want – hope and peace for their families. What these Muslim moms don’t believe – yet – is that they can have that hope and peace through faith in our Savior.
There are about 800 million Muslim women in the world who don’t know that Jesus wants more than anything for them “to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4, ESV).
God loves moms. He loves Muslim moms. He loves ALL moms! He sent his Son to earth as a baby, born of a human mom. Jesus lived a perfect life – a mother’s ultimate dream child, right? And because He was perfect, He could give His own life as the perfect sacrifice for our sins, and then raise Himself from the grave!
So today on Mother’s Day, which is also day seven of the 30-day Muslim observance of Ramadan, would you join me in praying for Muslim women and for moms everywhere, that their hearts and minds would be opened to Jesus and they would say “yes” to the only One who can save them for eternity? Prayercast, a ministry issuing daily prayer suggestions throughout Ramadan, suggests that for Muslim women we specifically pray for:
Deliverance, comfort and healing for the abused, neglected and oppressed.
Women to know and experience the intimate and personal love of Jesus.
Jesus’ unconditional love to be the new foundation of their identity and value.
Use Climbing For Christ’s special resource, the Project Prayer: Ramadan 2019 guide to get informed and inspire your prayers during Ramadan and ask God to reveal Himself to Muslim families.
Then go give a mom a bear hug. Happy Mother’s Day!
Elaine Fallesen is the director of Climbing For Christ’s ministry to women and families. She’s the mother of two children and called “mama” by co-laborers everywhere. To date, she has participated in 15 Evangelic Expeditions to five countries and is preparing to GO again to Turkey in June.