By Janée Angel
As humans we need to connect. Certainly, this time of COVID has challenged us to find ways to connect that are outside of our “normal” box.
In our ministry among Arabic speakers, community is a driving force. Restrictions that we live with in Belgium have been extremely hard for our people. Zoom has become the new normal in Bible studies and prayer meetings as the number of people allowed to go to church has been limited.
However, thankfully there are still ways that we can connect and be the physical presence of Jesus.
Carlos is one of the little refugees from Syria. He was born in the middle of a war close to 7 years ago. The electricity was out in the hospital and he was born blue from the lack of oxygen. The complications in his birth led to epilepsy. Once he arrived in Belgium more than 3 years ago, the doctors were able to get him on better medication and discovered his genetic disorder as well.
Carlos says two words with clarity…”mama” and “baba.” Although his dad is not around, every man he sees becomes “baba” and most women are called “mama.” And as limited as Carlos is, he recognizes me every time, even when we are required to wear face masks. My eyes connect with his lazy one and he says, “mama.”
I take Carlos and his young mother to the neurologist and communicate with doctors, lawyers, his special school and social workers for Carlos and his family. My heart goes out to his mom as she tries her best to balance Carlos’ very difficult life with that of his older sister and younger brother. It’s not easy.
I cannot imagine myself in the place of Carlos’ mom. With all the constant needs of her children, she has not been able to learn the Dutch language well enough to communicate with everyone required in her life. So, she relies on me. And I rely on my husband, Hary, when our communication breaks down. But every time she says “thank you” I know she means it.
She knows that I love her and I love Jesus. And every time Carlos cups my face in his hands and says “mama” I know he knows I love him too.
Janée Angel is a CBF field personnel serving among Arabic speakers in Antwerp, Belgium. Learn more about and support her ministry at www.cbf.net/angel.