Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: In-Law(s) (05/08/08)
TITLE: HER PRECIOUS NAME IS: "TEITA"
By Henrietta W. Romman
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“Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness and, for his wonderful works to the children of men!” Psalm 107:21, KJV
Vivid images from the Bible flash across my mind, of the many caring persons our heavenly Father has created. Now God destines some of us to be protected, overshadowed and taught by similarly precious persons He brings into our life. When this happens, it is for some specific reasons known only to Him; and I believe that it is also for His glory.
Oh that we would all know and appreciate the great blessings of God to His children! Through my marriage, the Lord has greatly gifted me with one of the best women of His creation to be my mother-in-law. With her as a second mother, I feel my life has been completely and absolutely blessed.
This kind and experienced person is called Olga. She had a very strong background in Eastern Orthodox Religion, where God was fully active. Her delight was unequaled as we accompanied her to her Greek home church on Easter eve. Later on in her life, she recounted proudly, “Do you know that I once asked Jesus Christ into my heart, even while I am an Orthodox?” Glory be to God for that…Hallelujah!
I realized she was truthful, through her silent faith. Morning and evening she was reading pages from her prayer book. God was surely in that amazing Devotional, as well as in her loving heart. Every time she read, her face glowed with the light of Jesus.
She had no personal Bible: neither had she ever realized her need for one. Back then, most Churches never encouraged Bibles. Members always owned personal prayer books—from which they also read and worshipped on Sundays.
My husband and I lived with my mother-in-law Olga during the first fifteen years of our marriage. We resided with her in her spacious home. In the Middle East, it was very customary for Syrian newly-weds to live with their in-laws. We were extremely blessed that she was there for us when our three children were born. They used to call her Teita, as this word means “Grandma” in the Arabic language...so we all did the same.
It was mandatory that men went to work from Monday to Saturday---from 8 am till 8 pm.
So, she and I bonded and had ample time to cook and sew. In those days, we were tremendously privileged to have house help. Every home could have at least two servants—and a Nanny when necessary. They all had their quarters to live where they worked.
Teita Olga was a very noteworthy cook. She would seasonally invite our Community to enjoy the most delicious dinners from her hands. Teita excelled herself especially in her famous lamb recipe.
She would normally take a whole slaughtered lamb of about thirty-five pounds; she salted it and filled its cavity with spiced rice, pine nuts and raisins. Then she baked it to a nicety. When it was absolutely tender, Teita presented it to the guests with a great, big bowl of yoghurt and cucumber salad topped with olive oil and mint.
As for dessert, Teita normally chose from an assortment of special dishes. Yet, the best one that God helped me to learn from her was none other than the Middle Eastern Baklava. She took a special kind of dough: spread the sheets in layers, and then stuffed it with minced walnuts. She then baked it, then literally drenched it with warm honey.
Everybody appreciated Teita Olga; especially her neighbors and close friends. She gladly welcomed them in her home anytime. We were all extremely grateful to God for His great goodness in her. It was through those fifteen rewarding years I have lived under her roof that our Lord has gratified my great sense of belonging.
The Word of God said, in Psalm 92:14 NIV “They shall still bring forth fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green.”
This is very true. Teita Olga went to heaven to be with the Lord in her late seventies.
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