Friday, December 10, 2010
Meet "Sister Maylinda."
Born in the Dominican Republic, she moved to Aruba in her younger years to marry an Aruban. I knew her because I was a missionary in Aruba for 9 months. Every Friday, she had us over for lunch. She made the best food--rice and beans, but they were THE BEST rice and beans I've ever had. She'd usually make us some kind of chicken or meat to go with it. Plus, she'd make fresh passion fruit or mango or pineapple juice. And she'd serve us a little snack-pack pudding for dessert. When we finished lunch, we'd always take our plates over to the sink. Sometimes I would absentmindedly throw the chicken bones from my plate in the trash. She hated that--she saved every scrap so she could give it to the dogs on the side of the road.
She was a very talented seamstress. She ran a successful business for years, but by the time I knew her, she mostly just did favors for people. One time I was with her when she ran into someone who remembered Maylinda from 20 years before because Maylinda had made her wedding dress. She made my companion and me skirts one time--I still remember her exclaiming how VERY WIDE my hips were when she measured me. :) (Thanks to her beans and rice, probably.)
When I went back to Aruba a year after my mission to do research, she let me stay at her house. Even though I didn't expect her to, she doted on me and fed me. She was always putting people up in the spare bedroom in her house--it wasn't just me--and I'm sure she took care of them all, too.
A couple of times as a missionary, I remember having to go through her bedroom to get to the bathroom. Her bedroom was perfectly tidy. The bed was always made. All she really had in there was a set of scriptures sitting on the stand next to her bed. It was simple and clean and focused, just like her.
Maylinda was dependable. Nearly every week, she came with us to the English class we taught, just to be there. (She already spoke fine English.)
She was a sweet grandmother. Her grandkids LOVED spending the day at her house.
She walked to the bus stop every Sunday so she could go to church.
She would respond immediately if she heard someone didn't have anything to eat, by taking them a hot meal.
I remember someone we taught as missionaries who didn't know how to read. Maylinda agreed to have the woman over every week so she could read the scriptures to her. The woman continued to walk to Maylinda's house for months after my companion and I stopped teaching her. All kinds of people felt welcome in her house.
Aruba won't be the same place now that she's gone. I'm grateful for her example, her testimony, and her constant service. Mi ta stima bo pa semper, Hermana Maylinda.