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Thursday, October 30, 2008

More Nostalgia

This is a week of remembrance, and several glimpses of the
orchestration of a light-clothed heaven-stretching Being, working
above and beyond and behind the scenes of time (Psalm 104, from Pat's
prayer meeting . . . ).

My neighbor's oldest wife, who stays in Congo most of the time, came
for a visit, trailing her 10 year old twin boys. As they kicked a
soccer ball around in the yard with Jack and Julia, it dawned on me
that these boys were born in our car, delivered by Scott who had been
trying to get them to the hospital in labor all those years ago.

In chapel the S6 students came forward for prayer, before they begin
their final period of University-qualifying exams. There are only
about a dozen of them, and many have been with the school all six
years and we therefore know them well. One is one of our sponsored
boys. Another is a former m'lm orphaned boy who became a Christian at
school. One of the girls is the daughter of one of Bundibugyo's
freedom fighters, a man who led the rebellion many years ago that
threw off the domination of the Toro Kingdom, and who has inherited
his charisma and leadership. But I was mostly focused on three girls
who were in my cell group for several years in their O-level days. I
am not a very notable evangelistic missionary. In all my years here, I
have only had the privilege of being present with about 10 people as
they became Christians. That's OK, we are a body and I am more of a
hand, touching, feeding, healing, typing, than a mouth or a head who
preaches and sees conversions. But those few are important to my
heart, it is a remarkable experience to watch over months and even
years as a girl weighs her beliefs and takes the courageous step of
change. Two of those three girls from my group who stood yesterday,
nearing graduation, were among those who made professions. I have
seen genuine faith slowly blossom in both, and I am grateful.

Physical and spiritual new life, a good legacy. And the two come
together sometimes, too, in Kwejuna project. Yesterday was a very
trying day at the health center. We are in the midst of Child Health
Day outreaches, meaning that most of the staff has been deployed to
villages to dispense vaccines and vitamin A and deworming tablets.
The malnourished and HIV-infected seemed to pour in in their absence,
lots of new admissions and new patients. I was very stretched by the
onslaught of patients and the exodus of staff, if Pat had not plugged
on I might have given up. So it was another gift from God to review
two of our last patients together, bright spots that made our tired
and hungry and grouchy faces smile. Sera Sedrack had been admitted
last month in a pitiful state of starvation, which led us to discover
that his mom was HIV-infected, his sister had TB, and he was somehow
free of both diseases and just hungry. Now many packets of milk and
days of monitoring later, he's unrecognizably rounded, from 5 kg to
7kg as he returned for follow-up, and his mother and sister are
getting treatment. The second was Crispus, whose PCR results just
came in. His HIV-positive mother had been screened in pregnancy, took
her drugs, delivered her son, fed him only from the breast for six
months, and brought him for viral testing as instructed. He was
negative! In fact all the results just in from last month's Kwejuna
batch were negative. So he will wean while he's safe, and hopefully
live a long and joyful life. And his mother will be followed and
treated and hopefully get to live many of those years with Crispus.
And these families will hear the good news of God's love for them at
the same time they see the evidence in the care they are offered.

Which brings us back to Psalm 104, the transcendent God who rebukes
oceans and spins moons, also directs rains for the grasses and trees
and vines that make the oil and wine and bread that bring beauty and
joy and strength to the heart of man (14-15 in the middle). Decades
ago he new that Nalongo would be in labor, that Winnie and Farida
would be searching for truth and meaning, that Sedrack would be hungry
and Crispus would be threatened by HIV, and He brought together the
people and fuel and pills and money and books and love to reach each
of them.

1 comment:

larisochka said...

Praise the Lord!! I am overjoyed - particularly for Winnie and Farida. If you have a chance, please tell them I remember them - am so glad for the chance to know them for a bit two summers ago - and am praying that the Lord would show Himself faithful as they take their exams and rise to walk in the ways He is calling both of them. Thanks!!
Larissa