They call me Minji, which means The Mother of All,” bellowed Abigael. “It is because they are my children. I treat them like they are my own.”
Abigael is Pastor Joshua's formidable wife and by the end of my ten day stay at the St. Luke's compound I, too, was calling her “Mama.” Pastor Joshua is an inspiration and has created a ministry that provides direct care and hope for the least of those in his society. Yet, the engine and life force that makes the compound run and the one that infuses the place with maternal affection is Abigael.
I interviewed her on a Wednesday morning around 7:30am in front of the computer lab of the girls' secondary school. She had been up for a while and had already made her morning rounds to the classrooms to greet the teachers and the students.
“When I married this man,” she began to recount her choosing Joshua, who courted her for over a year during college before she finally acquiesced to date him. “He said OK, but if you will build a life with me, you will also take care of orphans. And he presented me with five orphans to take in right away. At the time I said, wow, what is this thing: an orphan? I had never heard of someone who had lost both parents. But then I remembered a dream I had as a child. I dreamt that I would be taking care of many, many children. At the time, I told my mother and couldn't understand what it meant. Now I see how the dream has come true.”