“May the Lord Bless You”—Remembering Salimata

Her huge smile, and her even greater heart of hospitality, became a main-stay around the village hotel in Mali. Always dressed in beautiful hand-made Malian dresses, she gave a calming presence around the place for everyone. No one could have been a more gracious hostess than Salimata Sidibe. Our teams could rarely remember the name of the hotel, but we all knew we were staying at Salimata’s.

SalimataOn June 18, 2009, Salimata passed away. In life, she was loved by our teams, and respected by her village. Although Salimata was often weak and ill, she never put that before the care of her guests. Over the years that we visited her village, Sali became more than just our hostess—she became our friend.

I remember a day when she gave me a blessing in the Bambara lanugage which translates as, “May the Lord bless you.” This was a bit unusual because the term “God” for another world religion is used most often by the Wassulu instead of “Lord.” So,  I asked her, “Who is the Lord?” She responded by saying “Jesus.” Salimata received a copy of the Scriptures and listened to Bible teaching. She heard the gospel and believed it was true. She wanted to follow Jesus, but struggled with making that a public decision. Only God knows the final belief in her heart.

The passing of a friend like Salimata reminds us of the task that we’re about. Time is short and life is like a vapor, for we are “a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.”

  1. Kim B says:

    I will miss Salimata very much.

  2. Julie says:

    When I was in Mali, I visited with her almost everyday for almost a year – I’ll miss her.

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