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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Trench Slogging to Hope

In a 24 hour period on Monday, 5 kids died on the Pediatric ward, including the child I wrote about with such hopes mid-day on Monday, and another who breathed his last as I tried to revive him that evening, leaving my dinner cooking on the stove as the sun set and zipping down in response to a distressed call from a clinical officer. Tuesday we met for three hours or more about the future of one of our team's ministries that needs direction and funding. Today we met for another three hours with community leaders to get advice about the rash of break-ins. Earlier today I saw a newly diagnosed AIDS patient: a girl who is within a week of exactly Jack's age, her grandmother dating everything from the first rebel attack, which means this girl and Jack were both embryos when her mother and I ran. Now she's an orphan, half Jack's size or less, with a potentially lethal complication of those stressful and uncertain months in utero. Another mother today told me a disturbing tale about her child being lured away by a stranger whom she suspects was a child trafficker, right under our noses there at the hospital. Heidi challenged us to pray along the Peacemaker lines: that all of these situations would be opportunities, in proportion to the difficulty, for God to be glorified. It is a bold prayer and one that injects hope into the trenches filled with muck.

So, a few glimpses of glory. First, Nuela, a little girl from Congo whose name refers to her being born at Christmas, though her grandfather is uncertain WHICH Christmas it was. I'm guessing she's about 4. When her father died, his relatives shunned her mother and her, and her mother ran away. Then the paternal relatives sent word to the maternal grandfather who lived in Uganda to come and collect the child who was very ill. So in a counter-cultural move (children belong to the father's family in patrilineal descent) this somewhat elderly lone widower of a grandfather carried this terribly ill girl whom he had never before lived with back to Uganda and to our hospital ward, and there they are. She is listless and swollen and scabby and miserable. But I find it remarkable that her grandfather is making this effort and pray it is a story of redemption ( ).

Second, on community, Jack was invited before the first day of school this week to visit one of his best friends, Ivan, who lives pretty much on his own in a small room in Nyahuka. Ivan had saved back some of his school money and bought eggs and cabbage, and he and Jack cooked themselves dinner on the charcoal segili, then played cards until dusk. While many friends hang around our house, it was rare for one of our kids to be invited to someone's home, alone, as a human being not as part of a missionary family, just to be a guy. He had a great time.

Third, partnership. Though I dreaded this week with several of my missionary co-workers gone. . . Ugandan colleagues have shone. Our nutrition workers Pauline and Baguma Charles have been fantastic. And I realized this morning I was rounding with three of my favorite nurses! One is about to begin maternity leave any moment, the second is a mature lady (like me!) whom we sponsored to become a nurse years ago, and the third is an energetic and capable young man whom we sent for training after seeing his faithfulness over the years, who just finished his course. And to top that off, one of the three medical students we sponsor from the Dr. Jonah fund is here for a week of his school break, a breath of competence and a hope for the future.

It strikes me that these themes: prayer, community, partnership, compassion, emerging leaders . . . are the core of what we've asked God for this year. And in a week that seems mired in evidence of evil, those payers are being answered.


Amy Pasqualini said...

May God give you the strength to keep doing what you do so well! I'll continue to pray that His provisions will arrive in amazing ways that let you know they must certainly be from Him. I'll pray for you all and the many little ones you care for...thank you for the updates so I know how to specifically pray for you. As difficult as they are to read some days, they also offer hope amid so much suffering. Thank you for being the hands of Jesus to so many!

Greenbrier Escape said...

I think I recognize the middle nurse in the picture as Margaret right?
So neat that she is still there!

Mary Ann