As I was looking back over my journal for blog ideas I was overwhelmed by the harsh circumstances that we are confronted with daily. We are often jaded to how difficult life is here because we can no longer look at life objectively. We are so immersed in this culture now that peoples' pain and suffering have become almost normal for us. However, that doesn't make it any easier to deal with. My heart breaks daily as I hear various stories from friends and strangers, and I just hope that I always remember to never take my blessings for granted.
Apparently word is getting around town that we are taking in orphans. This is not exactly true as we are only planning on taking in one
orphan. However, that part has not
gotten around town. Yesterday we had a visitor, a man we had never met. He is from a large village near here, and is struggling to raise his six children alone. Both of his wives died, and he is afraid he will not live much longer because he has HIV. He heard from a nurse in his area that we were taking in children and decided to drop one of his off at our house. You cannot imagine how forlorn and terrified this little boy looked, sitting on our front porch. He had probably never even seen white people before, and now his father was planning on leaving him with us! We tried our best to explain to the man that we are NOT taking in orphans, but would try in help him in any way we can. Thankfully he was very happy and satisfied with a huge bag of beans and a shirt for his son. Not exactly what he came for, but we are becoming good negotiators!
Amazingly enough, this is not the first time we have been offered a child. Last week Kenneth was running errands, pumping gas, etc, when he was approached by a woman who wanted to show him something inside her shirt! He, of course, tried to tell her no and push her away, but then realized she was trying to show him something. She was suffering from breast cancer and had a huge tumor growing on her chest. She told him that she had recently seen a doctor who confirmed that she has breast cancer and will not live much longer. She is a widow with no family and only one child, and had approached him to give him her child! Kenneth once again tried to explain that we are NOT taking in orphans but would try to help her in any way we can. So far she has not come to our house, but who knows what this next week will bring?
Since Rikot has come to stay with us we have had many of her family members stop by to "visit" her (ask us for food and clothes), and we are always happy to do what we can for them. Yesterday it was her great-aunt and an orphan girl she is caring for. They stopped by to ask for some tylenol as the girl had some pain in her legs. As we began looking at her legs we realized that she had a serious infection. She had open sores covering both legs below the knees that were swollen, oozing and covered with flies. She was under the impression that she just needed medicine for the pain! We went looking for a translator to make sure she understood the severity of the infection. We dressed her wound (as best we could), gave her some tylenol, and explained repeatedly that she MUST see a doctor for her legs or she could lose them. I hope and pray that she will follow our advice and see a doctor, however long it takes.
Last week our gardener and friend Zachariah's daughter was seriously burned on her leg. She was removing boiling water from the fire (she is about 7!) and spilled it on her leg. He took her to the clinic where she received several injections to fight possible infection. However, they did nothing else for her leg! I am not a nurse and don't claim to know much about medicine, but it seems unwise to me to leave a child's third degree burn completely open, especially a child who rarely has access to clean water for bathing and spends all day cleaning and cooking outside in the dirt. We (meaning Andrew) have taken on the task of cleaning and bandaging her burn daily and are happy to see new skin growing! I don't know if we are doing everything right, but God is caring for her and healing her wounds despite our lack of knowledge. Please pray for continued healing for little Ludy.
These situations we face daily have taught me so much about my role in this world. I used to think that I had too much...I almost felt guilty for the things that I had, even though I strove to live simply and give generously. This place has taught me that the things I have were given to me for a reason. Just as God blessed Abraham He has blessed us. To whom much is given, much is required!
And so we continue to strive to live simply and give generously, but oh, what new meaning those things take on here! When we live simply we can afford to give generously, and the difference that makes here is often life or death. Please continue to pray for us that we will not only share physical things but can share also the hope we have in Christ! The physical and the spiritual are so closely intertwined that we cannot share one without sharing the other.
We love you all and are trying very hard to begin blogging weekly, so you should hear from us again very soon!