Monday, October 15, 2012

Meagan's October Report

Tonight is a continuation of last night's entry from my niece, Meagan Hawley, and her work at the Namwianga Mission in Zambia. I need to warn you- some of this is tough to read. I love Meagan and even if you don't know her, you'll understand why after reading this.

October 13, 2012
Hello from HOT and windy Zambia! We are anticipating the coming rains, praying they come soon. Our dam is completely dried up, and water hasn’t been flowing in our house for 2 weeks now. The rain should provide some relief both for the heat and the water situation around here! Also, because of the upcoming rains, power has been off rather consistently while they try to repair poles and power lines around our area that tend to fall during bad storms. They are preemptively securing those so we should, in theory, not have as many power outages once the rains do come. So the combination of little power and little water has been quite a challenge.

I’m always reminded of Jesus’ words about light and darkness when the power is out often. Every time the light returns, it’s like an instant jolt of relief and hope that all might be right with the world again! Sounds dramatic, I know. It’s just nice to be able to cook, and see yourself, flush the toilet, and other luxuries like that. It helps you remember that you won’t always have to walk around knocking your shins on chairs you didn’t see in the dark hallway! It’s such a good, physical reminder of what I want to do with my life here. I want to be a visible reminder of the light that comes from Christ. I want to help show people the One in whom there is no darkness. I want to help others know that feeling of relief that comes from being in the light after dwelling in too much darkness. The opportunities to shine God’s light here are plentiful. My prayer is that I will always take advantage of them, and that they always point others to know God more.

Last month I wrote about a few of the babies and their prayer needs. About a week after I wrote that report, sweet Jenson died. She was admitted at a nearby hospital for over a week. We would go check on her daily while she stayed in the ward with an auntie there. I got a call in the night Sunday night saying that she had taken a turn for the worse. I rushed there Monday morning, to the same hospital ward, a few beds down from where Adam had died two weeks before. I found Jenson looking the worst she’d looked yet. The doctor had started an IV on her that had completely swelled up her arm. Her eyes were no longer alert. She hadn’t passed anything for a day. Her breathing was ragged. She was dying.

Auntie Paulina and I took turns rocking her, waiting for something to happen. The doctor came in after about six hours, and he told me there was nothing else to be done. She’d finished the course of medicine that might have been able to help, but didn’t. She’d not responded to any of the other measures they’d tried. Her body was shutting down, and they were just keeping her comfortable. He said it would be fine for me to take her home to be with us until she died. Paulina and I rode in silence the 45 minutes back to Namwianga, the only noise Jenson’s struggling breaths. I dropped Paulina off so she could get some much needed rest and proceeded home with Jensie. The doctor had told me he didn’t think she’d make it through the night. But she did. And she made it through the next whole day as well. I spent a lot of time pleading with God, asking him to take her pain away. I hate watching babies struggle like she was doing. We had many visitors during the day, and a few stayed a few hours into the night. But in the last hours of the second night, it was just me and Jenson and God.

 Moments like these are so hard. So many questions come, questions about God and why people suffer and why her family isn’t here sharing her last moments with her. I held her and rocked her and sang to her. Finally, I could tell the time was here. She did all the things I’ve come to know too well before a child dies. When she died, it was the middle of the night so I just wrapped her up well, placed her in my bathroom, and waited for the morning to come when we could bury our tiny treasure. Morning came, I prepared this tiny body to be buried, and we proceeded to our graveyard. The guys who work on the orphanage grounds had already dug her grave, so we had our short service for her.

 If I’m being honest, I wonder sometimes what the point is. We fight for babies whose parents are unable to fight for them. We do this because we know we would want someone doing it for our child if we were unable. We do this because God commands us to. But when it ends this way, sometimes it feels futile. Thankfully, that’s not the end of our story, and thankfully most don’t end like that. Most end with joy.

The next day, after burying Jenson, I was able to go visit Catherine, one of our babies that we had from birth and went home when she was 3 ½. We had fought for her, too. Many times, many late nights, many instances we thought she wouldn’t make it. But she did. And the fighting wasn’t futile. It meant that a little girl got to rejoin her family and got a chance to live and bring glory to God. That is our prayer for all our little ones that go back to their families.

And then a few weeks after getting to see Catherine, Sibajene, one of our toddlers, went back with his father and stepmother. They came to take him now that he is old enough to eat regular food and there is someone at home to look after him while his father works. As we prayed with his family as they prepared to go, his father wept and wept. He couldn’t stop thanking us for taking care of his son while he couldn’t. It was beautiful to see an example of how God uses this place and this ministry to stir people’s hearts and point them to God. I’m not sure about Sibajene’s father’s relationship with God, but I know that on that day, he was aware that God is love as he looked at his son and all the aunties who loved him during his first two years.

We’ve also had new babies join us this month. We’ve added Jeremy, an HIV exposed little guy who is failing to thrive. We have Louisa, a big, healthy baby girl with lactose intolerance. Raymond is a little week- old boy who is doing marvelously. God continues to bring new life into this place, even more opportunities to share His love and shine His light.

Like all months here I suppose, this month has brought things full circle. There is death, but also new life and new families being created. We have been blessed. It’s impossible when working with infants and toddlers to have intense Bible study or to ensure that they understand the Bible stories you are trying to teach them. But God is great and He works for us, planting seeds in the hearts of our children and their families in ways we could not. Please continue praying for us that God would be glorified in our actions, and that all of our babies and the families they will one day go to will come to know Him.
I hope you all are well. I miss you guys! Thanks for all your support!

God bless,
Uncle Steve
Luke 18:1
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