Day 4~Widow and Hospital Visit
My goodness we have been here only two days and have absorbed so much. The electricity has gone off twice already and I don't really mind. The simplicity is so refreshing. Especially when it goes out at dinner/team time in the evenings. There is something so intimate about 30 people sitting around tiny candles and holding flashlights to see what they are eating. It's a fun part I will always remember.
So this morning were the Widow visits in the villages. I wasn't actually supposed to go on the widow visit because it was my duty to go to the market with Jon to buy supplies for the bags that would go to the hospital visit in the afternoon. As we were loading up the Pajeros, Jamie (an advanced team member) offered to take my place with Jon at the market so that I could experience the widow visit as it was her favorite part in years past. I was so appreciative. This group really knows what it means to work as a team.
We loaded up the Pajeros and were off to the village where several widows would be waiting for us. There were actually two villages to visit so our team split up to meet with them both at the same time. When we arrived Pastor Eric asked me and two others to speak to the widows. First there was a short panic and then immediately I knew what to share. My "heart" verse Isaiah 41:10. The Lord had given me that verse at a time in my life when I wasn't walking the path HE had laid out for me. But in my own circumstance of loneliness and desperation I cried out to him and this verse was how he answered me. Being with the widows was such a sweet moment. Their bodies were plagued with pain after years of hard labor and to see them sitting there so welcoming of us was such a blessing to me. After our talks we all handed out care bags with flour, sugar, oil, and rice to each widow and then prayed for their needs individually. Thank you God for using Jamie to make sure I was in the place you wanted me at the time I needed to be there. Those sweet people blessed me more than I could have imagined.
We had a quick second to recover before heading out to the Passion Center so we could regroup for the hospital visit that afternoon (uggh). Jon and Jamie had returned with the supplies we needed to fill 150 care bags for the guardians of the children at the hospital. We had to stuff all the bags in a hot second and the team did not disappoint. We formed an assembly line in the Passion Center lunch room and before you knew it we were loaded up and heading to the hospital. Several Passion kids were chosen to go along on the visit to pray and translate prayers for the sick children. When we arrived we had to wait because the parents were feeding their little ones. You see in Zomba the children are primarily cared for in the hospitals by their guardians (mom, grandmother, aunt, cousin) and sometimes wait weeks just to see a doctor. While we were waiting we noticed a woman walking around the courtyard, where several were having lunch from the hospital, preaching the Word of God to any who would listen! It was so cool!
Then it was time....I didn't want to go in. I wanted to turn and run, but I couldn't. Once inside the ward I saw caregivers at the bedsides of their children just loving on them and doing anything they could to keep them comfortable. And the reality of it all was more than I could have imagined. I looked across the room and saw a team member sinking into himself to hide his sobs. I know him and I knew he was seeing his own wife and prematurely born son on those beds, knowing that if God hadn't chosen them to be U.S. citizens that one or both of those sweet family members would not have made it. A member of the Passion staff, Fatsani, shared the gospel inside the terminally ill ward and at the end he asked who would like to know Christ as their savior and over 1/2 of the guardians raised their hands. Fatsani was on fire! Can you imagine someone just walking up and down the halls of our own U.S. hospitals telling patients about the eternal healing our savior can provide? I mean really, we could learn so much!
The "ward" was one big room lined with twin sized beds. There were sometimes two or three patients sharing one bed, some on the floor all just waiting to be healed. There just wasn't enough room for all the sick. I just sobbed seeing children with 2nd & 3rd degree burns laying helplessly, and those with heads so full of fluid they couldn't sit up. It was more than I could handle and I had to leave the room for a moment to get my emotions in check. The last thing I wanted those sweet things to see was more sadness. After Fatsani's message we took bags of supplies to the bedsides of patients and prayed with them. I didn't have a translator with me, but the word "prayer" was universal, they knew what I was doing and to whom I was praying. I chose to go to beds that held children close to the same age as my own Parker and Hallie. It was heartbreaking because I could see my children there and I knew that if these children were in the U.S. they could be healed. But that's not what God wanted me to do there, he wanted me to stand in the gap for these children. The last bed I went to was a toddler whose pregnant mother grabbed her hands when I began to pray as if to say, "be still child, we are approaching the throne of grace." And that's all I could do was to pray for God's mercy and grace for the children he created and strength for their families. Death is such a normal part of life there, and it is here too, but the rawness of it in Zomba was so real and so painful.
Team time tonight was a mesh of sobs and brokenness. It was a sweet time for our team. Doing the widow visit and hospital visit in one day was emotionally draining. One was a group of people I hadn't planned on seeing and one was a group of people I didn't really want to see. In the end God allowed me to be blessed by both opportunities as I saw their faces as He sees them~with love.
*Note these pictures are from others on our team.
*Note these pictures are from others on our team.
|Greeting the Widows|
|Sharing my heart verse|
|One of the widowed men bowed in prayer|
|The supply bags to hand out to the widows|
|Hospital Courtyard (where the woman was preaching)|
|A glimpse at the hospital|