This past week I joined five storytellers in Rwanda to meet the incredible men and women served by HOPE International and capture stories. The stories are wonderfully encouraging but their lives were a lesson to me. On Tuesday, we drove out with another organization (Aziza Life) to learn from women of the Abumurvava Village, which means “The Courageous People” and experience the typical lifestyle of a woman in the countryside. As we drove out to this village and as I interacted with the women, I couldn’t get Proverbs 31, the famous Hebrews poem, out of my head.

The women begin their day very early and care for their husbands, children, animals, while also cooking, tending to the land, gathering water, and more. We learned how to get water from a spring, peel root vegetable, like cassava, with a knife. We cultivated the soil, cut grass with our hands to feed the cow, and watched as they cut a sisal plant, broke it down into fiber threads, dyed it, and made it into a bracelet. The owner of the home and president of their women’s group, Speciose, said they are very proud of the work they do. They should be!

Whatever your image of the Proverbs 31 woman is, I hope that this will inspire you and give you fresh vision for who and what she can be and do. My prayer for you and me is for a renewed mind—that we would catch a God-vision of what godliness looks like in all its contexts.

“As soon as you open your eyes you thank God for another day.” –Primitive a wife, mother, and a dear woman and new friend living in the Abumurvava Village.

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“An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.”

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“She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.”

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“She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household…”
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She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
She dresses herself with strength
and makes her arms strong.”
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“She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.”

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“She opens her hand to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy.”

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“She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant.
Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
“She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.”

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 “Her children rise up and call her blessed…”

“Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates.”

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Be on the lookout for more about HOPE and this trip in the coming days. You can check out more brief stories and images and learn more at https://www.hopeinternational.org/tn. Make sure to download the free book Created to Flourish by Peter Greer and Phil Smith.

All pictures were taken by Jessica Steddon.

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