A Fresh Look at Proverbs 31: A Day with the Women of Abumurvava

by Guest Blogger, Author, and Azizi Life Experiences Guest Trillia Newbell

This past [October] 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 [of our trip], we drove out with another organization (Azizi Life) to learn from women of the Abumurvava [Cooperative], 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 Hebrew 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!

Stripping fibers from sisal leaves.
Stripping fibers from sisal leaves.

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 working with the Abumurvava Cooperative.

“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.”

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

“She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household…”

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.”

“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.”

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

“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.”

“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.”

ABOUT TRILLIA NEWBELL: Trillia Newbell is the author of the kids’ book God’s Very Good Idea, a Bible study on Romans 8, If God Is For Us, as well as the books Sacred Endurance: Finding Grace and Strength for a Lasting FaithEnjoy: Finding the Freedom to Delight Daily in God’s Good Gifts (2016),  Fear and Faith: Finding the Peace Your Heart Craves (2015) and United: Captured by God’s Vision for Diversity (2014). Her writings on issues of faith, family, and diversity have been published in the Knoxville News-SentinelDesiring GodTrue WomanChristianity Today, The Gospel Coalition, and more. She is also a commentator for World Radio (a sister platform for World Magazine). She has spoken at numerous conferences, churches, women’s retreats, colleges and seminaries, including True Woman, The Gospel Coalition Women’s conference, Southeastern Theological Seminary, and more. She currently is the Director of Community Outreach for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission for the Southern Baptist Convention.

All pictures were taken by Jessica Steddon.

To learn more and book an Azizi Life Experience, visit our Experiences Page.

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