Saturday, October 17, 2009

Proverbs 31 Woman


I met the Proverbs 31 Woman in Kigali, Rwanda. Her name is Adeline Kibatega Gataha and she is “a wife of noble character.” She is tall and regal and “worth far more than rubies.”

Her husband, Pastor Straton, “has full confidence in her” and who wouldn’t? She is an amazing woman. They purchased a plot of land on which to build their home. For years, they had dreamed of living on this hill with a beautiful view of Kigali. God gave them the desires of their heart. They first lived in a small home in which they raised 5 children and only recently were able to build their elegant, yet simple larger home.

“She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.”
As the contractors cleared the land and poured cement, Adeline would arrive at 6 a.m. and leave at 6 p.m. to oversee that everything was done correctly. She started landscaping, planting hedges and trees including numerous fruit trees. Adeline has planted many flowers and also has vegetables growing all along her buildings in containers. Their yard is beautiful enough to host a wedding, which it did a few years ago as their oldest daughter, Carole, had her traditional wedding here. As a dowry, the groom gave them two cows.

“She considers a field and buys it” This Proverbs 31 woman is not just a gardener; she is a farmer and a very good one. Several miles from her home she has a large plot of land. She often walks there which takes her over an hour one way. She smiles and says it is good for her to get exercise.

On her land she grows a field of rice and a large plot of vegetables. She also grows elephant grass for her 5 cows. This work is all done by hoes by hand. As we sit in the shade of the clean cow house with 3 young men, her workers, a mother hen and 5 tiny baby chicks scratch in the dirt. The hen clucks softly as she teaches her chicks how to uncover bugs for their lunch.

“She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable.”
Adeline pays her workers weekly hence providing many families with an income and several, a home. They all seem happy and laugh often as she talks to them in their native tongue, Kinyarwanda. We pray over one of her workers, who is sick possibly with Malaria. Adeline says she will buy him some tablets that will help him.

As we continued to walk, she showed us her banana plantation. It is big with green bananas hanging in the branches. Adeline had become concerned for a young family with three small children without a home. She built them a small brick home and told them they could plant vegetables between the
banana trees in exchange for taking care of the plantation and they are now very happy.

Adeline said the purpose of her farm is to feed her family and to bless others with healthy food. Adeline is a good cook and the cooking is still done outback on coals and the meals are 5 or 6 courses and very delicious.

“She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.”
After the 1994, Tutsi genocide in Rwanda, while her husband was away studying, she opened her home and welcomed in 30 young men who had been left homeless. She laid mattresses on the floor and would make large amounts of porridge for breakfast. She would have them all get in line with a cup including her own children.

“Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.” Pastor Straton has a large church called “Eglise Vivante de Jesus Christ (The living Church of Jesus Christ) in Kigali. His church is a Purpose Driven Church setting an example for many churches in Africa. On the roof in large letters is painted JESUS CHRIST. In his office, sets a picture of him with President George and Laura Bush. Pastor Straton has 30 branch churches that he oversees, some long distances from Kigali. They also have a large ministry to street kids which they prepare meals for twice a week. They also have a large outreach to people with HIV/AIDS. If you would like to view a video of Pastor Straton, please go to this web site Then click on video and click on the name Straton.

Adeline takes sacks of her homegrown rice, fresh milk from her cows and homegrown vegetables to the HIV infected. She delivers it with her love and prayers and it makes them very happy.

“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.”
Adeline’s laughter and humor rings throughout their home. One night after one of her delicious and healthy homemade dinners, she and Straton showed us how they used to dance. While the children laughed, she continued to hum and dance alone. Pastor Straton said we’d all have to pray to get her to stop. One of her beautiful daughter’s Clarisse, laughed so hard she was holding her stomach.

“She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.”
One morning before breakfast, she had hoed up the land by her back gate in preparation to planting a kitchen garden. She also has a nice compost pile cooking in her back yard.

“Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:”
Adeline and Straton have five children and they are all very loving, beautiful and respectful. They lost their 1st born son, Serge, at sixteen to leukemia. Adeline uses her walk through grief to help others. When she hears of the death of a child, she immediately goes to comfort the family. She says, “Sometimes I just hold them and cry with them, as a look of sorrow crosses her beautiful face.”

After the loss of their brother, the children pleaded with them to have another child. When their youngest, Rebeccah was 6 years old, God blessed them with a baby boy, Jonathan. He is now 10 yrs old and continues to fill their lives with joy.

“Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.”
Adeline’s deep love for God and her faith is so real it’s almost tangible. In her prayers, she always thanks Jesus for everything and then asks Him to help those who don’t have food to eat. Adeline puts feet under her prayers as she is always blessing someone. After a severe rain, her neighbor’s house flooded. For several hours, Adeline and her workers were out cleaning a canal to channel the water away from her home. This lady so appreciates the help and tells Adeline she is the only one who understands. Her lifestyle is one of love, serving, it encourages and helps many people. Her neighbor’s husband is in prison and she is raising 4 children by herself. She provides for her family by putting a large basket of fruit and vegetables on her head and walks the street selling them.

“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting: but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring praise at the city gates.” Adeline is greatly admired and respected wherever she goes. In Africa, older woman are called Mama by younger people. People call Adeline, Mama Pastor or ‘Mama Serge’ after her first born son. She offers hospitality to anyone and everyone. Hers is a lifestyle to be modeled by all of us.


  1. Thanks for sharing Connie miss you cricket

  2. Aww!! this story is so touching, We luv u so much and we miss your laughter.
    God bless your Family