OUR OLD FAITHFUL
Revelation 12:11 says: “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; …”. When we tell testimonies of the Lord God’s power and saving grace on our lives, the devil slinks away tail between legs. So, let us share our amazing stories of God’s love in action and shame the evil one.
We look forward to reading your own story of faith in the coming weeks. Your well-written story should be about 800 – 1000 words. Send your story to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Selected stories will be compiled into an anthology of stories of faith.
Here is today’s story of faith told by Beauty Ncube. Enjoy! And look out for the next story in a fortnight’s time.
OUR OLD FAITHFUL
The other day, I sat on a chair in the cool shade of my veranda, after a stint in my lovely garden. It just was too hot. The lovely scent of ripening mangoes wafted from my garden. I am now a retired teacher and I thoroughly enjoy just lazing around my flowers. I closed my eyes and started thanking God for His goodness. It has not all been rosy, but I begin to reflect on the many fond memories of His goodness and mercy. My thoughts drift back to 36 years ago. I smile. I muffle a giggle. Then I laugh! Alone! Yes, our old faithful!
I have come from far! That many years ago, I was sitting in my dining room marking school exercise books when I heard a car drive in. That was not our car. So, I peeped through the window. Who could that visitor be in a blue Peugeot 404? I wasn’t particularly expecting anyone. My husband came out of the car. I stood up and went to meet him by the entrance.
“Whose car is that Elias Ncube?”
“I sold the Holden honey and bought this one my Beauty Ncube!”
“That was quick. Let’s see how good it is,” I said as I got into it just to have a feel. “Hmm, not the best, but not bad!” I said as I got out. The Peugeot was a 1968 model. We used this vehicle as a family motor car and trusted it for doing its stints, taking us to work and children to and from school.
After a while, the car started coughing and groaning. I was not too bothered as my husband knew the right mechanics for sneezing and spluttering cars. As time went on, my dear husband fell sick and was found to have the dreaded ‘C’ word disease. Despite well wishes and prayers, Elias succumbed to Cancer and passed on in 1993. The sunset on me, just like that. Where would I start? Already the treatment for the illness had been so demanding, it had left the family pockets turned inside out. The children were in different schools, and there was a long way to go before they completed schooling. Bekezela (Beke) was in Form 2 at Arundel. Vezubuhle (Vezi) was in Grade 5, Zanele in Grade 2 and Thamsanqa Mayibongwe (Tammy) was in nursery school. The car had also been giving problem after problem. We used to have a school run group, but, the other parents began to shy away and declined to help, possibly because they feared for their children being in my car during my school run turn, as it had become an unreliable ramshackle. What was I going to do?
I taught at a school that did not permit selling anything during school session. But God gave me ideas. I used to buy boxes of frizits (frozen coloured juices) that were very popular with children. I would start off very early to take it slowly with our old faithful, so that I would not have to rush at the last minute and risk getting my children to school late. I used to arrive at my school quite early before other staff members arrived. I sold the frizits and they would be gone in no time. That ensured that I would have enough petrol to ferry my children to school the following day. I also taught extra lessons at home in the evenings and during weekends. Various parents were so grateful for the remedial classes I taught from home. They recommended me to other families. Some of the parents paid me handsomely. So, we survived, and the old faithful continued to transport my children to and from school, to their various school activities and to any other place that needed transport. I know my children were embarrassed by our car, but they learnt to appreciate that it was their only means of transport.
God had been so good. Vezi also got a place for secondary schooling at Arundel. Zanele and Thamsanqa went to Hellenic School. Part of Zanele’s fees were paid for by the school and Tammy’s were fully paid by the school. I could not thank God enough for that.
One day, when Tammy was in Grade 2 at the Hellenic School, he looked like a mad bull, tiny as he was, when I fetched him from school. Those days, there was quite a bit of friction between Black and White pupils. One White boy had seemingly poked fun at the motor car Tammy was brought to school in. Before he knew what had hit him, he lay on the ground with Tammy daring him to repeat what he had said. Tammy was frisked away and locked up at the sick bay, where I collected him after school that day. The Headmaster had said,
“Tell your Mother what you did!”
Tammy reluctantly related the incident. I hugged him and told him never to fight, nor matter how badly he was provoked. I remembered an incident earlier the same year, when the class was asked to write a composition about their Dads. He stood and said to the teacher,
“I have no father.” One child laughed and said, “So, what will you write about?” Tammy had come home in tears that day. He did not relish being made fun of. The teacher apologised for that taunt.
When I went to see the Headmaster expecting a reprimand for what my son had done, he said,
“Mrs. Ncube, your son was provoked. I’d have done the same. But, tell him not to fight please.”
One particular day, I could not get beloved old faithful to change gears. Getting that fixed was next to impossible. I just had to cajole her to grind slowly on one gear. I remember a day when she packed up on our way home from school. I mustered courage and went to the home right next to where she broke down to seek help. God always lays out His angels. These White folks had *Ubuntu. They first gave the children and I some food, then took us home. Our mechanic collected old faithful and fixed her. She did well for a few weeks before the problem started again. I moved on one gear for a while. I knew that was not good in prolonging old faithful’s life, but I had to get the children to and from school.
Bekezela excelled in her schooling. After passing her ‘A’ Levels. God smiled at Beke as she landed a place at Havard with a full scholarship. But she needed an air ticket to get there. I cried before the Lord. In no time, Beke was ready to fly to the USA. While she attended school, she did odd jobs here and there, that enabled her to get me a better car. We bade farewell to our old faithful and marvelled at the many years she had taken us from home and back safely.
As I reminiscence, I know without doubt that God carried us. I have not seen any other ramshackle do the work our old faithful did for years. She needed a complete overhaul that I could not afford, yet she saw almost all the children through secondary school. The children never missed a day at school. By the time I got a replacement, Beke had completed at Havard and was working. Vezi was in Australia, being educated by foster parents. Zanele graduated at the University of Cape Town, and Tammy at Witwatersrand University.
How could beloved old faithful accomplish what she did? On her own? I know that it was all a God thing. He says, “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know” Jeremiah 33:3. God works in mysterious ways. The Almighty cared for us using dear old faithful. Hallelluia!
Beauty Ncube is a very active but retired school-teacher widowed 27 years ago. She has three adult children. Zanele passed on at a tender age four years ago.
(*Ubuntu means being human. It is an African philosophy that says, a person is a person because of other people.)