It only stood to reason that if I was Mama Lou, that my male counterpart, Abner, would eventually become “Daddy Abner”. I even called him that. Only 24, it was a bit incongruous that he was called Daddy by all those kids nearly his age, and by one woman old enough to be his mother, but it seemed to fit. He took prodigious care of his children, and his Mama.
Before I left for Boot Camp, one of the things I prayed for and had everyone I could think of who prayed pray for, was that I would get an excellent head male leader to work with. When I first met Abner, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Before me stood a buzz haircutted adorable KID who looked no more capable than I felt!
But then he started talking, and I was amazed. Though he was born in the Philippines in the year I was there on my SECOND Teen Missions team, he was by far one of the most adult young adults I’d ever met. We had instant rapport and started to laugh and never really stopped all summer.
“Daddy” Abner in my favorite kitchen…the tiki hut kitchen in Kansoka. Looking for beef jerky probably! Shows us all just how hard a worker he is.
Abner was (well IS) on staff with Teen Missions. This was not his first time as head leader. As I mentioned in an earlier post, Drum For Sale, Abner was well-versed in the art of the deal. He also was like a real-life MacGyver. He could fix anything, make anything, and solve any problem. He wears designer clothes in the middle of Africa, always looks clean and smells wonderful, and has 5,482 really good things you can do with a caribiner. On our field banquet night (story and photos in a later posting) he whipped up a grill and a BBQ pit. “How do you know how to do all this stuff?” was the question. The answer kind of broke my heart…”that’s what poverty teaches you.”
One day I was lamenting about my lack of light in the mornings. Our kerosene lanterns had both broken. So that day, he made a kerosene lantern for me out of (MacGyver would have been proud) a ketchup (tomato sauce in Zambia) bottle, a bit of aluminum foil, and some medical gauze. That lantern (and subsequent others) lasted all summer.
And he loves Jesus like pretty much no one I’ve ever met. He’s fierce and strong and not afraid to wear pink. He knows just about every song ever written, and doesn’t seem to be fear anything. He’s a real one of a kind.
It was probably a combination of knowing that I was just where God wanted me to be, and of being really well taken care of for the first time in my adult life that made me feel more safe than I have ever felt in my entire life. And THAT in the middle of Africa. Talk about your miracles!
Abner did not come back “home home” after our summer. He went on to his “home” in Mozambique to work and teach at the BMW Bible School at the Teen Missions base there.
Thanks for being part of my amazing summer, Daddy Abner! Let’s do it again next year!
Who says you can’t say it with knives as well as with flowers???
Your “mudder” misses you!! 🙂 Make good choices! 🙂