Showing posts with label babies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label babies. Show all posts

Monday, 21 July 2014


Come on grab a pair of sandals, there's plenty of those over there by the door. I can lend you an extra sunhat if you don't have one, and don't forget the sunscreen and mosquito repellent. Even though it's wintertime in Mozambique we don't want to take any chances of getting the nasty, and sometimes recurring malaria.  I want you to walk where I walked and see what I saw. It didn't take me long to feel bombarded by all the different impressions. Just between you and me and the baobab tree I experienced some serious culture shock while there. Don't tell anyone, but I broke down and cried uncontrollably for a couple hours. It was just too much. Too much poverty, too much ignorance, too hard a life, and I felt too helpless to do anything about it.

I found it a bit uncomfortable bumping along these rocky, rutted roads in our big, four wheel drive truck, but all around us people were walking, always walking which would be far more exhausting. . We saw thousands of black faces, many so solemn looking, carrying heavy bundles, often on their heads and the women, it seemed like more often than not, had a baby or toddler wrapped on their backs. I guess seeing the numerous pedestrians with heavy loads and  knowing they would be  sleeping on bamboo mats, and the pitiful diets were among the things that hit me the hardest. Hey, they are people just like you and I!

At first we babbled foolishly about what can we do to help, but eventually fell silent. What could we do? Their needs are so great, and our efforts so small. Even the education of many was a crying shame. Some children could hardly even write their name.
We saw far too many places similar to this. How would you like to call this home? 

I was asked later if I would go back if I had a chance. I thought about it for a while and this is my answer. For an adventure, no, but as a missionary in order to help the people, yes, a resounding yes, IF I could learn the language sufficiently to share my love with them. Life for so many in Africa is a hard life, and it would be also, to a lesser extent for the missionary because it would be a huge adjustment. No an adventure seeking spirit couldn't drag me back, but love could.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Poor, Sweet Claudine

I suppose some of you might be wondering what happened to Claudine and her baby. I guess I shouldn't have put off finishing this story for so long, but it has been a bit hard to cope with. Claudine was faithful until the end. Amazingly, joyously faithful, something we can't comprehend because we have never been asked to suffer in that way. I believe her heart was broken that she was never able to see her infant again, but even I, with my limited understanding of agony know and have the assurance, that Jesus was there for her. I suppose she often wondered how little Jans was doing but perhaps he died at an early age which was so common in those days. I'm sure yearnings and prayers for her husband and children lingered in her heart at all times, but there was something more. God was giving her strength, she loved Jesus so much, and sensed her Saviour's love in return that she would have gone singing to her death if they wouldn't have gagged her. Well, she's gone to her reward now, and that is no idle platitude and perhaps I will someday get to know her on the Other Side.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Just Pretend to Change

This is another part to Claudine's story.    The original is from the Martyr's Mirror. Stroll back and read from the beginning. Part one is The Couple Next Door, part Two: Apprehended, and so on. It will make a whole lot more sense that way. :) 

“Claudine, don't be so hard on yourself,” a childhood friend pleaded as she handed her a basket after the guard had left. “Just give lip service to their demands.”

Claudine's eyes widened. “You mean tell them I won't serve Jesus anymore?”

Thursday, 13 March 2014


Okay, I've skirted the issue long enough. It's high time we stopped wondering what the neighbours thought and see and feel it from Claudine's viewpoint. As a mother I find this awful hard to write because what she experienced had to be painful to put it mildly.

Okay, Jannie boy, let's do it again.” She clapped his pudgy little hands together and sang a playful, made up rhyme. The baby's pink cheeks were wreathed in smiles so of course the mother's heart was light with joy also. His sweet cooing was like music to her ears.
“I'm coming to take the baby.”
“You heard me right, ma'am. We've tried with all patience and perseverance to get you to see the errors of you ways, but you refuse.”
He reached out for Jans who already looked pale and scared.
While clinging to her small son Claudine fled to the farthest corner of the cell.
“You can't take my baby! Jans needs his mother! Jans is a nursing baby!”
In two steps the Enemy was upon her and was trying to wrestle the infant from his mother's arms. Claudine was stronger than he would have ever imagined. “Please, sir, I'll do anything, absolutely anything if you will let me care for Jans!”
“Even torture?”
“Yes, yes. Any kind of torture!” Her voice rose above the screams of the frightened lad. She wretched him back from the Inquisitor's partial grasp and dove into the far corner of the cot, covering her baby with her body.
“Even the rack?” his voice was cutting, mocking.
“Yes, yes, even that!”
He was struggling to get her to face him. “Even beheading? Even being burned by fire?”
“Yes, yes, of course.”
"Or recant?"
"Of course not!"
“You're mad woman.” And she fights like a wild cat. “All the more reason to put the baby into better hands.”
He had Jans. Jans flung himself towards his mother screaming incoherently. He was too young too talk. But then he said it. “Mama! No go!”
The guard actually stopped. And flinched. But only for a second. But it was long enough to snatch the baby back and cower. Oh if I could only climb up and break through that narrow barred window! I'd flee to the mountains! I would take wings like a dove—I'd --.
He was fighting her again. Never as long as she was living would she willingly hand over her child to such an evil man. She saw his dagger flash out a split second before the handle cracked against her head. The world turned black as she sank limply to the dirt floor.
When she came to her senses, the baby was gone.

Part of the Next Door Neighbour Series. Check out included pages. 

Friday, 7 March 2014

The People Next Door (Part three)

Pieter gazed worriedly out of the small east window facing the trees. “Why didn't Papa come in for supper? An' why didn't Mama come either? Their soup will be cold by the time they get back.”
“Come away from the window, Pieter, and eat your own food before it gets cold.”
Pieter turned back slowly but his pale, freckled face was troubled.
Margariete scurried around cleaning up the before supper mess but her face also looked quite thoughtful for a normally merry twelve year old. Why did they leave right now? Was it something to do with...She didn't even want to think it let alone voice it. Every once in a while someone would be thrown in dungeon—or worse-- because of being a Christian. Just as she was brushing the crumbs off the table and in to her hand, loud voices caused her to look up out a different tiny window. What she saw made her heart pound with fear. Four or five big men silhouetted against the sun were shambling up the street. And their voices carried well.
She froze in her place as one of them pounded loudly on their neighbours door. George slowly opened it and cupped his hand to his ear as if pretending to be more deaf than he actually is.
“Piersom you say? What Piersom? I reckon there be many Piersom's round these parts. It's a right good handle.”
“I said Piersom des Muliers!” the man practically shouted.

George, although stooped with age, was still taller than the spokesman, and he glowered down at him. “What you think yer doing, disturbing our peaceful little town like this?”
“George,” a neighbour called warningly. “That the Inquisitor you are talking to.”
“Inquisitor? What need we of--”
The spokesman clenched his fists. “If you warn't an old man and hoary of head, I'd lay you flat, or better yet, lay you out on the racks. Now tell me where is Piersom des Muliers?”
George appeared to wilt under the onslaught. “You're askin' the wrong beorn, mann,” He shrugged. “Like ya said, I'm just an auld man and don't know about all the goin' ons in this 'ere town.”
“Foolish old mann,” one of the baliffs muttered as they turned to go.
“Aye, let's ask one o' these other neighbours.”
“Pieter! Nicholaes! ” Margaurite snatched her younger brothers by the arms. “We must hide! Quickly!” They pried open the root cellar door but before they could climb into the dark, musty stillness some men crowded into their house.
When it became evident they would get no information from the terrified children, the men turned to go to question someone else.
But where were the onlookers? They had seemingly melted away.
Except one. And those that were peering from behind ragged scraps of curtain.
Claus seemed nearly ready to burst his buttons as he strutted closer to the bailiffs and the Dean of Ronse. Now here was his chance to get some respect and shine in the sun.
“Look ye,” he called after a quick, jerky bow. “There goes the wife! See that woman with a baby straddling her hip? That's the minister's wife! Nab her while it is yet day.”
The bailiffs wasted no time brushing past the tale-bearer.

When Claudine heard the sound of pounding feet she started to run, but the babe was heavy on her arm, she tripped over a root, got up ran some more, darted down a narrow side trail and tried to conceal herself was too late. Soon she was hauled off with the infant clinging and wailing around her neck.

Friday, 28 February 2014

Apprehended: Part Two

“Goedemorgen, Claudine!” Verena hurried over to the young mother who was strolling down a wooded path near their town home. “May I take a peek at your baby? Hallo Jans, did I wake you up? What a sweet little boy you are!” She sighed happily and looked around. “What a perfectly lovely day to be out for a walk. Aren't spring days beautiful?”
Claudine nodded. “ Pieter and Nicholaes do not play too far from the path. We need to go home after awhile to make supper for your father.”
“Where is Margriete?” Verena asked while she was making silly facial expressions to get the rosy cheeked lad to giggle.
“Over yonder,” Claudine pointed. “She is gathering an armful of flowers to fill our rooms with.”
“Meenen is such a pretty little town.”
Claudine fell silent. At least it doesn't have a dungeon like Ypres does. She suddenly felt cold and it had nothing to do with the stirring of a summer-like breese. How I would hate to be confined to a dark prison cell when the air is so fresh and there are all kinds of interesting things to do. She felt her grip tighten around the baby's small form. Verena didn't notice Claudine's change of mood. She was already rushing back to chat with Margriete.
“Mama!” Pieter called. “May I hold Jans please?”
Claudine handed the baby to his brother who promptly sat down in the grass and entertained him by tickling his face with a daisy.
What happy, sweet children I have, and such a good husband. Why then am I feeling cast-down in my soul, all of a sudden? Claudine started singing and the rich, pure tones filled the air with a rare beauty.
Claudine had a good soup cooking by the time Piersom entered the door. Claudine quirked her eyebrows. He didn't bound in with his usual boisterous good humor.
Piersom motioned for her to step outside.
“Margariete, you can start feeding Jans. He's so hungry after all that fresh air this afternoon. Yes, Piersom?”
Her husband closed the door behind Claudine before speaking. Then he laid his hands on her shoulders and looked deep into her warm, brown eyes. “ Hendric matched my step as I was returning home from work.”
Claudine nodded. Why such a sober look?
“Titelmannus is out and about.”
“Who is he?” Why did I whisper?
“The Dean of Ronse.”
When his wife still wore a blank expression, Piersom continued, “The Inquisitor.Hendric, a pious councillor warned me to flee. I will hide in yonder woods.”
“Could you not pause to sup with us? You must be tired after such a long day.”
“Nay, I must hasten. He may have rounded up the bailiffs already to come and fetch me.” He turned to go, then paused. “You come, to, Claudine. They may be after you as well.”
Claudine knew the danger they were in. “I will fetch the baby, but you go! Go! Don't wait for me! I'll be but a moment later.”

“Where's Papa?”
“Why doesn't Papa come in for supper? I am hungry!”
“Papa and I are going for a little walk. Go ahead and eat. Pieter, you can lead in prayer. Hallo Janzie! My what a sopping wet baby! Did he eat much?”
Margariete nodded. “Everything that I mashed up for him.”
Claudine quickly and deftly changed the baby's sodden garments then hurried out the door.
She saw a ragtag, but determined looking bunch of men heading down the street so ducked into the woods and quickened her pace.

Page 737
Claudine de Vettre


Thursday, 9 January 2014

Discoveries in the Land of Primo

Some of the discoveries in the land of Primo were pleasant, and some they didn't mind so very much--until later! One such object was the Rocky Ridge all around one wall of their little abode.

One day Bel Esprit discovered that his companion had a very tiny ridge of `mountains` growing on her body but the teasing came to an embarrassed halt when Bon Amie pointed out that he had one also. One of the things that whetted their curiosity was the short, stubby projections at the end of each foot. They didn`t care to kick with them because it hurt. The lumps on the other end of their feet were more useful for that but what other purpose did they have? They had similar projections at the ends of their hands and knew well their use. They really came in handy when the twins wanted to examine something. Now what about that bump in the middle of their faces. Often they touched it wonderingly, but it seemed so unnecessary. Sometimes they would touch each others `bumps and wonder why they were there but came to no conclusion.

The little opening in their faces! Now that was useful! How they enjoyed taking big gulps of the warm fluid that surrounded them and feel it seep down into their tummies.

One day Bon Esprit discovered a curly shaped thing on the side of his head.

`Hey! Look what I found!``

Books by Marilyn Friesen are available from and soon more will be available from Just type in Marilyn Friesen once you get to the right page and ...brou

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Invasion in Primo

Have you ever heard of the wonderful land, the glorious land, the warm and happy land of Primo? It is not so very far away, but is in a dim and mysterious country where strange and incredible things happen every day.