In Guinea-Bissau, there is an intriguing habit common to several African countries. When a child is born, the name chosen relates to the events or circumstances surrounding the baby’s arrival. An interesting example comes with the name Nenemacho. Some parents, as soon as a male baby is born, choose this name—Nene (baby) and Macho (boy)—a declaration that the child is a boy or a “Nenemacho.”
But not all stories are this lighthearted. There are also dramatic naming incidents. One of our Portuguese course students is Siúna. He is an educated, intelligent young man and very open to matters related to the word of God. He started attending our Portuguese classes, then continued by attending Bible studies. As soon as we opened the Pathfinder Club, he started coming. In the group of young people being discipled, Siúna stands out, and we believe that with God’s help, he will be one of the future spiritual leaders in the community.
Recently Siúna told us the meaning of his name, and I was particularly touched. When his mother found out that she was pregnant, she was very unhappy; she did not want the child. Consequently, when her baby boy was born, he was given the name Siúna—rejected. Can you imagine how this could have negatively impacted that boy’s life? I kept thinking about how Siúna is an introspective, shy young man. Could it be that he was reminded of the rejection every time his name was pronounced, and this perhaps shaped who he became? Thank God that time has passed. Today Siúna is loved by his family—they do everything they can for him—and many more.
Gláucia Batista, an AFM missionary and Siúna’s teacher, sought out the meaning of his name. She then said to Siúna, “From now on, your name is David, a man after God’s own heart.” Since then, he is no longer called by his old name but by David, a vital reminder that God loves him and has chosen him to live in His glorious presence. David will be baptized soon, and his family is pleased with his decision. We are confident that God will use him to reach many family members and others who need to know how much the Savior loves them.
“Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it” (Revelation 2:17).