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A Second-Generation Christian

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One of the greatest problems in attempting to evangelize a new section of Africa is found in the womanhood of that land. A heathen woman will sell her soul for a trinket which takes her fancy, and she has very little sense of honor along any line. This mental and moral condition is no doubt due to generations of slavery, burden bearing, and harsh treatment.

Later, even when she becomes a Christian, she is quite often quarrelsome and childish concerning petty grievances in the home. What encouragement is found in a strong, consistent Christian African woman! Mariyama belongs to this second class.

When a missionary couple opened the first station among the Toma tribe, one of the first natives to become interested in the message was a woman named Diaka. Her heart may have been unusually tender, or she may have been concerned about the life hereafter due to the fact that all but one of her children had died.

She had named this remaining girl child Sekou, a boy’s name. This was a heathen precaution to deceive the evil spirits which she supposed had taken the lives of the other children. In spite of this safeguard, the child became seriously ill, and Diaka, whose heart was just beginning to respond to the working of the Spirit, hurried with the little one to the mission. Here she was given aid and instructed as to the proper nursing.

Some years later, Sekou, with her mother who is now a widow, learned to read in a central Bible school. Today she is a baptized believer bearing the Christian name of Mariyama. She is the wife of Daniel, the native worker on this station. She is not only a splendid young Christian but her very appearance bears witness to her changed heart.

In addition to being an industrious and helpful wife, she finds time for the work of the Lord. When her husband makes tours to distant villages with the missionaries, Mariyama acts as interpreter for their wives, who have charge of the services.

During the week she teaches, under supervision, a class composed of students’ wives and others who wish to learn to read in their own language. Evenings she attends a night class that she may become better equipped to minister to other women. Such is a second-generation Christian woman in Africa.

—Mrs. Clifford C. Ryan

Adapted from The Alliance Weekly, February 8, 1947

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