The Story behind the Song
The song, Mafeja, is based on a letter received by ASAPROSAR’s (Salvadoran Association for Rural Health) North American friends from Lucy Luna Guzman, founder and director Dr. Vicky Guzman’s daughter, who works with her with the Barefoot Angels Program (a youth development program for campesino children and youth). The day after returning home from a visit in the states, she learned that one of the children in the program had been shot and killed the night before by a gang – the intended target was the girl’s brother, but he was not home at the time.
The community was enraged and saddened by yet one more innocent life lost to gang violence. But this would not stop Lucy or the people. Following her mother’s example and through her faith, and with the prayers and support of her family and North American friends, she was determined to continue to fight for social justice for the campesinos in El Salvador.
Listen between the lines and the verses as the Spirit sings “with sighs too deep for words” in response to Mafeja’s death. Then hear the Spirit speak again through one of the women attending the funeral who said, “You don’t need to cry when an Angel dies for they go directly to be with God.” The woman’s words claim the promise of life. They offer assurance and strength, and they encourage Lucy and Vicky and all who work for social justice to “continue on in their struggle.”
By Christina Nordstrom
Back in her homeland again, tired and longing for rest,
Lucy remembered her friends and family by whom she was blessed.
Giving her strength to go on for justice and equality,
they shared her claim of the call in solidarity. Oo-oo...
The day after Lucy arrived, the phone interrupted her sleep.
Drowsiness still in her eyes, she woke up to hear Sonia speak.
Dreaming turned into dismay; disbelieving, she heard Sonia say,
“Lucy, thank God you’ve arrived! Hate took the life of Mafeja!” Oo-oo...
Mafeja, a girl of sixteen, filled with light, was pursuing a dream
with the hope to live fully and free, though campesino was she.
She was one of the Angels with her brother and sisters three.
Who would have known that last evening her life would no longer be? Oo-oo...
Her head filled with anguish and pain, Lucy felt anger and shame.
Like the bullet had pierced her own heart, the senselessness tore her apart.
But in the midst of her pain, strength to go on she would gain,
for Love spoke to her once again, and said: “Your work is not in vain.
You don’t need to cry when an Angel dies, for they go directly to God.”
The neighborhood gathered ‘round; silence the only sound.
But, Lucy’s faith was renewed, for her “Angels without shoes.”
Despite the weight of their fears, a new song sang loud and clear;
In the midst of their grief and tears, Love’s voice broke through, saying:
“You don’t need to cry when an Angel dies, for they go directly to God.”