Complications arise when you lose the people you love.
On “December 2, 2018, I lost my husband. My daughter had just turned four months old. And then on December 18, I lost my mom,” says Mantlibi Mafa, an airplane mechanic at Mission Aviation Fellowship in Lesotho.
“A few days after my mom’s death, I got [third-degree burns] on my right leg.”
The Oxford Advanced American Dictionary defines a crucible as “a place or situation in which people or ideas are tested severely, often creating something new or exciting in the process.” Through the crucibles of loss and injury, Mantlibi learned how to depend on the Lord for strength beyond measure.
“Two people I loved had just passed on. I had a four-month-old, and I was a new mom. Now, I was burned, and I was limping. I needed help,” she says.
“God helped me a lot, and I prayed [constantly]. That’s where I got my strength from.”
Of pain and purpose
The Lord didn’t waste Mantlibi’s pain. Women in the community knew about Mantlibi’s losses and saw her resilience in the following months. “Women started coming up to me and [felt] free enough to open up and share some of the deepest personal things they were going through,” she says.
“One woman who shared some of her marriage problems with me was getting close to suicide. Eventually, she got out of that, but we still talk now, and she’s doing all right so far.”
Mantlibi returned to Lesotho earlier this month after graduating from a year-long program at the School of Missionary Aviation Technology in the United States. By day, she keeps MAF airplanes in the air. More about MAF’s work here. Then, she helps struggling women get through the night.
“I told most of them, ‘I would rather you wake me up at 2 am than break down on your own. Just wake me up if you need to talk. I don’t judge; I listen and pray with you and help in whatever way I can,’” she says.
“I feel like it’s part of who God wants me to be.”
Whatever the situation, going through a “crucible” is never easy. However, discovering a purpose for the pain helps Mantlibi endure.
“When I look back, I’m glad He could use me this way. Now, I’m continuing to abide and obey, and continue being used in this way, which is part of the women’s ministry that I’m interested in [starting],” she says.
Pray the Lord will give Mantlibi the strength to overcome every challenge – past, present, and future.
“[Pray] that I would be strong because I still have a long journey ahead of me. Pray that whatever strength I have now or that I was given [during the] hard times, that I don’t let go of it,” she requests.
“I need more strength because now it’s not just about me, but also about this group of women. I have a strong bond with them.”
Header and story images courtesy of Mantlibi Mafa.