Odette Halzia is a gift. She led the way for us in Chad with confidence and grace. I constantly looked to her example for appropriate behavior and how to connect with others. I watched with admiration her ability to talk with the villagers and the obvious relationship she has developed with them. Both men and women enjoyed talking with her and listening to her suggestions. I marveled at her confidence in sitting down among the elders of the villages with complete composure.
We were an added responsibility to her week and she showed us such warmth despite her own difficulties. One of the days she seemed to be preoccupied and we asked if she was ok; she then showed us a tooth that had obvious decay and looked terribly painful. Nevertheless, she rode along in the back of the truck and continued leading us through each new circumstance.
She does not speak very much English and I spoke less French but thanks to Google translate we were able to chat throughout the VERY bumpy rides, trading our phone back and forth learning about our respective lives. One of the things I learned was about her twin seven-year-old daughters who live with her parents. She's able to see them only twice a year and struggles to pay their school bills.
The last day, as we were leaving, at the last minute, she and Aime once again crammed into the back of the truck and accompanied us all the way to the tiny airport. Odette sat patiently next to us while we waited for the airport crew to arrive, then for us to board. Finally, they both stood outside waving as we flew off across the desert, two lone figures saying goodbye and then returning to their normal duties in a city with little concept of God as we know Him.
Aime pointedly asked how we prayed for them and I was cut to the quick. Our family has prayed for Maramara for years but not for the World Concern workers.
Please pray for the World Concern staff in Goz Beida, that God would make them strong in faith.