The expectations of the poor shall not perish forever. (v 18)
This verse leaped out of my Bible this morning, in the context of our Bundibugyo Team's mourning. The four-year-old son of one of our CSB teachers died on Monday, after a very long dwindling illness characterized by pancytopenia (no red blood cells, white blood cells, or platelets to carry oxygen, fight disease, and clot blood) and massive hepatosplenomegaly (big liver and spleen) that was possibly leukemia or some other form of childhood cancer. Jason's father K.F. was a WHM-kid in many ways, one of those little boys who hung around the mission looking for friendship and help and role models. He found that in the Fillyaw family and then others, and after finishing his education came back to teach at CSB. Unlike many parents of sick kids in Bundi, K.F. and his wife were able to take Jason to the nation's central hospital. They exhausted every avenue of possible care in Uganda, and had the huge advantage of personal attention from Dr. Travis and Dr. Jessica. Travis consulted many people about his care, spent hours getting him transfusions and antibiotics, and even provided the last few days of care via personal visits to the family's village home where they had taken him to die. An illness like cancer is rarely survivable in Uganda. It's a terrible and threatening disease, but the underlying issue is poverty. In Africa the medical system lacks the resource and expertise to rescue a kid like this. We mourn with the psalmist and cry out for this promise to be fulfilled, that the poor shall not perish forever.
Please pray for our team. Jason was Patton's age. The CSB staff are like extended family to each other, and to our team. No doubt there is an element of Job-like spiritual attack here, a taking away of that which is precious from someone like K.F. who has seemed to benefit from mission attention and care. The Johnsons in particular invested a huge amount of heart and sweat in just helping Jason survive this long, and going through the grieving will be exhausting for them as well. (One of my babies died last night, a preemie with an anomaly of her bowels, whom we had struggled to keep alive for a week . . . and one of Scott's did too, a post-partum mom of twins who seemed to have a sudden bleed in her brain, both tragic, but both relative strangers to us, it's not the same as walking through the intensity of community in Bundibugyo . . ) PRAY that Jason's dad would miraculously continue to testify, as he already did at the burial, to God's goodness and love in spite of personal tragedy. This is where the real test of faith comes. We who have healthy children can only marvel from the sidelines and pray as those who suffer cling to Jesus.