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Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Two Funerals, and a Birthday

There is a song that came out right around the time of Ebola Bundibugyo, with the line, "like a swing set in a graveyard, like a bloom in the desert sands . .  love is gonna break through".  A poignant jarring juxtaposition, that highlights the paradox of redemption, where life is breaking in and overcoming death.

Today, two of our East Africa Serge colleagues attended funerals for close relatives.  Our hearts are with them, as they worship and mourn.  Faith in the hardest moments of life is real faith.  Heidi L has been caring for her mother for a long, heartwrenching, often beautiful, mostly ordinary moment-filled final year of dying from ALS.  Lesley S was shockingly and suddenly bereaved of her 24-year-old sister due to a car accident.  Both of these women missed years with their nuclear family because they have been working for transformation and hope in distant, hopeless places. For both the deaths are terrible, and too-soon.  And both are spending today in the emotionally overwhelming process of closure and goodbye with their USA community and family.  Both are places I would have liked to be today.

However, instead, I was grinding my way through call and then a busy NICU day with a sometimes-bewildered and fairly inexperienced intern team.  Scrambling to see patients in private clinic and RVA clinic too.  All with a goal of getting home to prepare for a 17th birthday party for Jack.  So this evening while my friends were waking up in the USA preparing for funerals, I was sliding pizzas onto paddles, setting out sodas, passing out party whistles and cake.  Celebrating.  Jack is a hard-working kid, smart, sociable, insightful, loyal, with a sharp wit, good humor, fast feet, and sheer speedy strength.  Tonight we had a pizza party, which is a beautiful way of honoring a person just for being who he is.  I am so thankful for him, and for the community of Senior Boys (our Sunday School) who came to celebrate with him. We ended the party praying for him, and I was thankful to know my son has friends who are asking God for closeness and wisdom and guidance on his behalf.

Two funerals and a birthday party. The context of darkness, which sets the stage for light. The real reminder that life breaks through death, that birthdays will overcome death days.

Meanwhile Scott is on an airplane high above both funerals, making his way to California for a 3-week be-sure-you-don't-have-Ebola incubation before he can return to Kenya.  And our school in Bundibugyo faces serious threats once again, possibly related to greed (for our land) and tribalism.  Anyway, please continue to pray for our friends, for those who mourn, asking for comfort.  For the Kingdom to break through, in love.

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