The end of July, on Jia's birthday, the Steiners and I went out the village where Hellen, their foster baby's family lives. It was a wonderful day despite falling sick with malaria that afternoon. haha!
We visited with Hellen's dad and watched as Hellen was carried all over by the many children running around. She screamed most of the time--even though she wasn't necessarily enjoying herself, it is somewhat comical to watch her feel more comfortable with white people than with her own African family. Measures are being taken to rebuild her relationship with her family and people. It was beautiful to see a widowed father with ten children so desire to keep his baby girl. It is wonderful to see the process of the reuniting take place!
Soon after we arrived in the village, we all went for walk with a large group of kids while Hellen stayed home--out of sight, out of mind. We walked to the top of a large hill made of rock piles where we could look out over the area. It was so beautiful! (And I forgot my camera) :( We walked to the top of another hill made of rock and on the other side of it was a crevice in the rock where water collected in a small pool. This is where they go to bathe rather than drawing water and bathing in a basin.
Most of the day was spent visiting with Hellen's dad while sitting in the shade of the trees in their yard. Just before we prepared to leave, they served us chicken and rice and millet bread. Millet bread isn't actually bread, it's like posho made with millet flour. I felt so bad that we weren't able to eat very much of the huge meal this poor family so generously offered to us! They butchered two of their chickens for our meal and made a huge platter of rice that wasn't even half gone by the time we finished. I can never truly understand the cost of such a meal for a family like this.
There are so many people here with which I have encountered extraordinary generosity. They give and serve and support each other and seek to honor their guests in ways that many of us Americans know little to nothing about. In the midst of it all, I have a great internal struggle going on in regards to money and giving and trusting the Lord. It is a good struggle but a hard one to remedy fully both with a heart condition and actions that glorify God. Where does money fit into the life of a missionary is something I constantly find myself asking? Not only in the area of fundraising but in giving and supporting people on the ground in the midst of living on a tight budget. (seriously, if anyone has any thoughts in regards to this issue, please write me!)
I hinted at an incident in a recent post that relates to this issue that I'd like to share with you. Please know that I have great respect for all persons mentioned in this story and I do not share it to put anyone down.
I recently learned that a boda driver died as the result of an accident he was in. I didn't know him personally but Dominic was known by the group of boda drivers who cluster and wait for customers at the end of IHOP's road and often drive me around town. One afternoon last week I learned that he had died but didn't think too much of it after that. It wasn't until Friday during lunch hour that the full situation hit my heart like a ton of bricks. The lead pastor at House of Prayer shared that he knew Dominic and back when the accident had first happened, had received a call from him.
The young man was in the hospital as a result of his accident and was calling the pastor to ask for financial help so he could get treatment for his wounds. The pastor didn't have money to help and was in the midst of moving a couple of hours away and so spaced out praying for Dominic. We have all known about someone who needed prayer and because life is busy we don't stop to pray for them. Dominic got tetanus and died last week. I know the pastor has struggled with this situation feeling that if he had even prayed for healing, Dominic might still be alive. When I learned of this and that Dominic needed only $20.00 to receive the treatment that may likely have preserved his life, I was so deeply grieved by all the factors that played into this situation.
I am grieved for my friend and pastor who perhaps feels responsible in some way; I hope very much that he is allowing the truth of Christ in this to penetrate his heart and mind. I am grieved for all who knew him and were helpless to do anything for him. I am frustrated that I didn't know of the need that could have made a difference. The Lord knows the day and time of our deaths but is it really His will for something like this to happen? He know is it will happen and He allows it to but does He want it to? I have really struggled to know how to handle things like this and what to think.