The Privileged Life: Ladies Who Launder in the Mud…and Smile

“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.” (Colossians 3:15)

If a picture is worth a thousand words, how about one worth a thousand prayers?

As I was reading a back issue of Prayer Point published by Samaritan’s Purse, I noticed an unusual photograph…and found out its unusual story.

A group of ladies are gathered at a pool of water, washing clothes and linens by hand in plastic tubs. The whole area is surrounded by dirt, mud, rough brush. It’s hard to tell if the water is muddy or clear, but it’s obviously the best place to do their laundry.

What struck me is how the women gaze at the photographer. They smile. Not exuberant smiles, mind you, but peaceful smiles…with a hint of gratitude.

I was captivated by this photo, so much so that I photocopied it and printed it out for my own laundry area.

My purpose? To pray for these ladies. And to make sure I’m always thankful, never begrudging a moment spent on cleaning clothes.

With the touch of a button and a bit of detergent, my clothes are tumbled and washed for me (in clean water) by an electric gizmo. My machine’s equally-capable partner inhales them and spins them until they’re all dry and fluffy. All I have to do is fold and put away. Done. Without ever leaving my house.

There is no room here for complaint, especially after I found out more about the photo. A query to Samaritan’s Purse generated a response with scant details—but enough to give me a huge admiration for these women.

They live in Mozambique. The photo was taken in 2019, following the wrath of Cyclone Idai. The storm caused severe flooding, inflicted catastrophic damage, and killed more than 1,500 people in four southeast African countries—the deadliest tropical cyclone recorded in the South-West Indian Ocean Basin.*

If you look carefully at the photo, you’ll see skeletons of structures that were possibly obliterated in the gale-force winds. Ravaged trees look as if they’ve been sawed off. The whole area is littered with debris.

Yet…these ladies smile. I can’t get over it. It’s as if they are talking directly to me, telling me their lives will go on. They say I can have the same peace, even in the aftermath of a hurricane. Whatever suffering comes, we can carry on together in faith…and wash clothes.

I don’t know these ladies or their outcomes from the storm’s destruction. I don’t know if they lost loved ones, if they were able to rebuild. I don’t know the status of their faith. But I pray for them and their families. I lift them up to the Father who knows them.

I’m inviting you to pray for them as well, just for today. Pray for their economic and spiritual recovery, probably still in progress even after nearly four years. Pray for their fellowship together, at the washing spot. Pray for their spiritual renewal. Pray for the work of Samaritan’s Purse and the local churches in Mozambique.

Let’s reach around the world and join hands in lifting up these ladies. Think of them as you wash your own clothes, with thankfulness! 

Jesus Christ, may You be an ever-present Redeemer in our lives and in the tough situations where we find ourselves. May You bring hope, light, and comfort to all those who have suffered through loss and destruction from hurricanes. Please bless the women of Mozambique, and lift up workers for the spiritual harvest there. In Your blessed name, Amen.

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© Copyright 2023 Nancy C. Williams, Lightbourne Creative (text and photography)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

To learn more about the grace of Jesus Christ, go to this page:


Original photo (copyrighted) used here by permission from Samaritan’s Purse…thank you!

4 responses to “The Privileged Life: Ladies Who Launder in the Mud…and Smile”

    • Yes! It’s far too easy to get into a rut of complaining about God’s everyday blessings–what a terrible mindset. I have soooo much that is worthy of HUGE gratitude…need to exercise thankfulness for everything!


  1. Oh how privileged we are to have machines to do this monumental task of laundering for our families! Just looking at this picture humbles me that I underappreciate the ease of life in America. And that my home is made of materials that do not shift in the storms that I have experienced. . Thank you Jesus that I can pray for those less fortunate than me but no less cheerful! I can see the determination and serenity in this snapshot in time. I do join you in prayer for the Mozambique women; mothers, sisters, aunts and grandmothers just like me!

    Liked by 1 person

    • No kidding!! I’m so grateful that I’ve never had my home destroyed. And while I’ve had to wash clothes in a bathtub at times, I’ve never needed to wash in a puddle! We are, indeed, mightily blessed. And, yes, I can see determination and serenity in their faces, now that you’ve pointed it out.


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