Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors. The people of The United Methodist Church.

Her Witness, Her Life

“God loves me this much,” she declares as she extends her arms as far as they can stretch.  Her smile is just as wide, from ear to ear. “And I love God this much.” She follows with a firm declaration, “Jesus is my power!” Etandu Clement’s life is a witness to God’s amazing love, mercy, and power. If you have the chance to talk with her, you will hear a story from the heart, a story that begins in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Etandu was born into a family where both her father and mother were Christians. As a child of two, she was stricken with polio. Yet she never complains about her mobility issues; she insists she can do things for herself through God’s power.

When she was a young child, her father died, leaving her mother to care for her and her siblings, one brother and two sisters. From childhood through adolescence, her family were surrounded by ongoing war between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Republic of Congo. In adolescence she met, then married, Clement Amnobe. They were soon blessed with two children, Marie, a rising senior at Phoebus high school, and Rama, a rising junior at Kecoughtan. Yet the threat of violence was always there, and the Clements made the decision to leave the DRC for Nairobi, Kenya, with other family members choosing to stay, living there still. Because of travel difficulties, she has not seen them since she and Clement left.

In Nairobi, a second son, Ferdinand was born. Life in Kenya proved to be expensive for them, however, and they decided to move to the United States, without prospects of work or a place to live. Within two weeks of their arrival in Hampton, Catholic Charities found work for Clement at Smithfield Packing as well as a place to live in an apartment complex on Kecoughtan Road across from Aldersgate UMC. It was here that the third son, Tony, was born and they began to attend Aldersgate.

I asked Etandu what led the family to First UMC Fox Hill. She responded that when Aldersgate closed, a member recommended that the family come to FUMCFH.  It is close to their home in Buckroe, she explained, and the member had said that it was a “good church with good people.” What made Etandu and Clement stay? She replied, “Good people, good smiles. And people love God.”

All the Clements participate in our church life.  Marie and Rama were baptized June 2019. Both are learning how to operate the A-V system. All the children are involved in the youth programs of our church, Clement attends as work allows. Etandu is a welcomed addition to a group of women who meet to share their souls on Wednesday afternoon.

Etandu represents her culture as she puts her faith into action. She supports her husband, insists that her children learn about Jesus, and manages the home. She loves to cook indigenous African food with ingredients found at a local world market. She makes her clothes from fabric from the African market in Norfolk, in addition to more “Americanized” clothes for her children. The next time you see her, notice the beautiful colors and patterns of her attire. All the time, she gives God credit for her blessings.

Getting to know her, I am amazed at her steadfast faith, despite being afflicted with polio at age two, surrounded by constant conflict in childhood, leaving family behind to seek safety in other countries, as she confidently depends on God to supply housing, work, and health care.

Unwavering faith, confidence in God’s provision, gratitude for God’s blessings, and love for Jesus--Etandu Clement is a blessing to our church family, showing us love as wide as her smile, with her life a constant witness to the merciful and amazing love of God.

Submitted by Judy Grigg
Posted in

No Comments