i see what he believes

claude

His hands were full of blue cardstock identity cards. The first one hundred recipients waited for him to make his way toward them. Batwa people invisible to most, living undocumented lives on the margins of their own country, swayed with anticipation as he walked nearer. That little blue card represented citizenship, rights and visibility.

small group

I noticed the first photo he sent back. All those women so proud… I asked him where the men were. “The first one hundred identity cards are for the women.” He said it without drama or emphasis. He just determined that in a community of thousands, the women would be the first.

He wouldn’t rest until all seven hundred held their own identity card. He won’t rest until all their children have birth certificates and can go to the local clinic for care, the local school for education.

I see what he believes – women are the hope of a community. They ground this community with their incessant work, daily care for family and efforts to earn a bit more here and there as they can. Empowered with identity cards, he believes they will move the entire community forward.

graduate 4

He couldn’t stop smiling as he handed Leonie her diploma. Even with a babe in arms, she made it to the end of the literacy program. Her accomplishment shined – she mastered reading and writing even as she worked the fields during the day, cooked for her family by night, studied by candlelight or morning sunlight.

I see what he believes – she is strong, capable and valuable. Her efforts at literacy, added to all the other daily labors, equip her to move this village forward. Her work ethic speaks to a deep strength, her insight the reason she offers such great leadership to the community. He believes these local women make the community hum with life and potential.

rene sacommunion

 

maggie

 

 

 

 

He refused to accept a slate of all men. As Amahoro Africa shaped the annual conversation he pushed for more women up front. He instructed the team to find women to offer keynotes on theological themes, to steer the conversations and shape the organization. He wasn’t satisfied that women were there, in the room. He wanted them to be heard, to offer leadership and show us a better way.

Every year, he presses for more women to engage in a theological space often reserved for African men. He never seems to care if men get feathers ruffled, if they squirm with women exegeting the holy text or administering the sacraments.

I see what he believes – women are full members of Christ’s body. They belong in the room, they belong up front, they belong with Bible in hand, bread passing through their hands for blessing and distribution. The talk will be too thin without them, the action might not happen without them, the fullness will be lost on us if they don’t help host the holy spaces we inhabit. He believes women are necessary to a healthy Church, a robust faith.

claude and me

I tire of all the words about what people believe. I want to see it. Give me faith plus works. Don’t tell me what you believe or what I should believe – show me. Let me see what you believe.

Everyday Claude shows me that he believes women can move mountains. I have no doubt what he believes. He doesn’t need any words because he so completely incarnates his faith in women.

I see what he believes.

 

 { This is part of imperfect prose link up with Emily Wierenga: BELIEVE. }

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9 thoughts on “i see what he believes”

  1. Sherry Naron
     ·  Reply

    This is so beautiful!

  2. Melisa
     ·  Reply

    Oh Kelley…What a man to believe in! BLESSED! Thanks for sharing him with all of us 😉

  3. Caris Adel
     ·  Reply

    Somehow all of your imperfect proses come out sounding so beautiful and perfect :) I love this. “Don’t tell me what you believe or what I should believe – show me. Let me see what you believe.” yes, exactly! You two make an incredible team.

  4. Sarah Bessey
     ·  Reply

    What’s the Hebrew word for Man of Valour? Praising God for men like Claude! This is such a beautiful picture of the great alliance.

  5. rachel
     ·  Reply

    “i see what he believes.”

    those words alone are enough to make me leap and dance and cry out YES a thousand times over. this is power, this man with the blue index cards.

    visiting from emily’s place, and i am so very very blessed.

  6. Holly
     ·  Reply

    And my heart grew a thousand sizes in the reading of this! This? This is how the Kingdom of God is now, how God wants to move among His Creation, how we must now live. Wiping away tears of joy/admiration/praise for this one with whom you so beautifully partner. Glory!

  7. fiona lynne
     ·  Reply

    Wow. What a man, and what a partnership you make together! Loved getting this glimpse into his heart. Yes to seeing belief in action.

  8. emily wierenga
     ·  Reply

    oh kelley. i love this claude. and i love what he is doing for these women. it reminds me of how Jesus treated women too. beautiful.

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