It seems fitting to remember Maria Mavuso during Passion Week. Maria went home to be with the Lord last month. She was a simple, uneducated widow who lived in desperately poor circumstances. Unlike some of the other SHBC volunteers, Maria spoke almost no English, so our previous mission teams weren't able to learn much of Maria's story. It turns out that she, like other SHBC volunteers, also had AIDS. We can only speculate about how she acquired the disease, but a likely scenario is that her husband, as is often the case with Swazi men, had multiple sex partners and brought AIDS home to Maria (and possibly other wives).
If I were in Maria's situation, I would probably stay home in bed, immobilized and victimized, allowing my family and friends to care for me. But Maria didn't allow her poverty, lack or education or AIDS to keep her from serving others. Every morning Maria got up, walked miles to collect firewood and water, then started a fire and cooked for hours so the Dwaleni orphans could have a nutritious mid-day meal. And in addition to these community orphans, Maria went to her simple home every evening and cared for two more children who had been orphaned by AIDS.
This Easter, as you think about the challenges you face which might be preventing you from living sacrificially, consider Maria and the sacrifices she made in spite of her desperate situation. When I think about Maria and the way she she lived, "being Jesus", she encourages me to do more of the same.