The Shumaker Family's Blog

Edvidge — Post by Rebecca

I first met my friend Edvidge when I went to buy lettuce on the side of the road.  In the evenings, she sets up a little stand with fruits and vegetables just a block or so from my house.  One night, as I was returning from church visitation, I stopped to grab something I needed for the night’s meal and asked her to come to a special church service the next day. She said, “I’ll be there.” I took her statement with a grain of salt, knowing that often people say they’ll come just to make us happy. Then they don’t show. To my surprise, Edvidge was at my door to walk to church with me the next morning long before I was even ready to go. She came faithfully for a month or so before one day raising her hand at the end of the service signaling that she wanted to be saved.  I was thrilled. Little did I know, God was going to do great things with her!


Over the next few months Edvidge began to invite friends and neighbors to church.  She didn’t really know yet how to lead someone to the Lord, but she knew how to lead them to her church. Within a short amount of time, four people came to church and got saved as a result of her efforts.  One was a young lady who shared a courtyard with Edvidge.  She raised her hand when my husband asked who wanted to be saved that morning. I took her to a separate room and began to talk to her, asking her why was there and why she raised her hand. She told me that her life was a mess. She didn’t know what to do. Edvidge told her to come to church, and she would get the help she needed. I was able to tell the young lady that Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, had died for her sins and would forgive her if she would repent and ask. This young lady prayed and received the Lord as her Savior that day and was baptized into our church not much longer. I had the joy of telling her the Good News, but only because my friend Edvidge had paved the way.  She knew where to take this young lady so that she could find the answers she needed.


Edvidge is not rich by the world’s standards. She goes to a village and buys produce to bring back to town and sell weekly. She doesn’t make much off each sale, and she struggles to get by. (Even so, she is often giving us fresh mangoes, refusing to let me pay. I have seen her do this for other church members as well.) She doesn’t read or write. She is proficient in her tribal language, but she struggles with the French that is spoken by the more educated people of this society.  Edvidge, however, is a success in God’s eyes. Often, as she sits at her little roadside stand, you will see some other lady or young girl sitting there beside her just chatting. One by one she makes friends with people that pass by. In doing so, she is reaching people, that you or I may never reach.


My sweet friend has taught me so much. She doesn’t have a Bible degree or anything like that, but she does her best to reach those God brings into her pathway.  Am I doing the same? We all have someone in our little circle of influence that we can reach, no matter what our job situation, educational status, or income level may be.  I have also learned the importance of simply being  a friend to others that pass by my way.  I am certain that the reason many people have followed Edvidge to our church is because she simply took the time to be their friend first. Who doesn’t want to follow a friend somewhere?  I have also observed that Edvidge gives NO excuses as to why she can’t do this or that. Her life is not an easy one. I have seen her struggle with some major health issues and work hard just to make enough to eat each day; yet, she doesn’t let these thing steal her joy and keep her from serving the Lord. I am certain that when we reach Heaven, my sweet friend will be richly rewarded.


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