The day does not start well.
It’s 6:30am, and I am squatting in the semi-darkness over a basin of cold water, washing poop out of every crevice of my son’s butt. Perfect start to my day. Some things about rectal prolapse are not so nice. Like loss of bowel control.
And I am grumbling already.
An hour later I am squatting over another basin of cold water, washing poop out of underwear, shorts, and washcloths while one of my sick, fussy babies cries continually in the background.
And I grumble some more.
This week has been busy, full of sick people, malnourished babies, and a broken arm. Out of all the people admitted to the local clinic, over half are ones we brought. So we run back and forth, bringing food (because they don’t provide food at clinics or hospitals), bringing hot water (because the clinic has no way to heat water for plastering broken bones), bringing blankets and clothes and soap and basins.
And I grumble.
“I am so tired.”
“I want a nap.”
“This baby just won’t stop crying.”
“I don’t feel good.”
And on and on and on…
Last week we read about the Israelites in the wilderness.
“Oh, that we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. But now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.” Number 11:4-6
40 years of manna…I know I would complain too.
I visit old Modo at the clinic. He is being treated for an ulcer which caused him to be so malnourished that when we found him he could not even sit without passing out. He smiles his toothless smile as he greets me. He’s now able to walk and will be going home today.
I visit the mother Michaela brought in with severely malnourished twin babies. She is being reprimanded by the nurse for not washing her babies’ clothes or bathing them. The baby boy is whimpering quietly, and I wrap him in a clean, soft blanket and cuddle him while his mother tries to nurse his twin sister.
“I don’t have soap,” she says quietly, looking down.
“Or a washing basin, or a husband, or food, or any help at all with her five children,” I think to myself.
She might be 25…maybe.
The nurse explains to me that the mother’s milk is beginning to come back since she has had food.
“You are lucky,” she tells the mother. “These babies can live.”
The mother hides her face again.
“I can’t even say how grateful I am,” she says.
I stop to say goodbye to Anna with the broken arm, hoping she’ll understand why I can’t sit there with her until the doctor comes to set her arm. He finally shows up after 4pm. She’s been sitting since 9am, not to mention she broke it the night before. She is obviously in pain, yet she is profoundly grateful.
And it hits me how UNgrateful I am.
Yes, I am tired. From running after my seven healthy children and cooking delicious gourmet meals for my family.
Of course I want a nap. I have been up nursing two babies with my abundant supply of milk.
Yes, my baby is crying. What a blessing he is healthy enough to wail for my attention.
Yes, I don’t feel good. But I have medicine, food, and a warm house to recover in.
I am so blessed.
Blessed to be able to love, to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
God, let my heart follow my actions. Forgive my ungratefulness. Thank you for water, for basins, for soap, and for little boys who poop in their pants. You are so good to me.
Another rough week this week....honestly, I'm getting tired of them. I wish that every story had a happy ending. I also wish I was able to blog more often. I feel overwhelmed by the stories I want to share but don't have time for. So today I will share just one.
Martina is a mother of two now. She lost her house last year in a fire and has been living where she can, sometimes in abandoned houses, sometimes with random people. She doesn't have a trade or a husband. However, she does like to drink. Too much. So much so that she often sells food to buy alcohol. In fact, that may be the reason her little boy was kicked out of the feeding program he was enrolled in. It couldn't possibly be because of the improvement in his health. Not with his orange hair, and huge, hard belly sticking out below his skinny ribs. He's definitely not healthy. He looks about 18 months, but she claims he's well over two. She also claims he can walk, but his legs shake as we bathe him, and he has to sit in the cold water. He's so hungry he eats a whole box of cookies, an orange and a plate of cabbage and rice.
She stopped by asking for food, but we recently learned what she does with her food and are reluctant to giver her any. But what about her baby? Somehow we have to find a way to make sure he gets fed. We set up a system we hope will work...daily rations of plumpynut at the Fulks and one meal a day. Nothing she can take home, nothing she can sell. She comes....once.
Apparently she is too busy.
"It's too far to walk each day" she claims. "I am busy planting right now...there's no way I can bring him every day. Why won't you give me food to take home?"
Fast forward a week...little boy is now sick with malaria. She takes him to the clinic. He's given medicine. He's given food. But it's too little too late. Sweet baby boy goes home where he will never hunger again...where he can walk, and even run...
And Martina is back. Sitting in my living room, crying. Is it real? These tears? Does she feel sadness at the loss of her baby boy? I choose to believe it is real, she does hurt. Even though she is still asking me for food, even through her tears.
Some days it feels so futile.
Some days I wonder where God is in all this.
Does it break his heart to see these children suffer?
I choose to believe he's here. I choose to believe it does break his heart. The consequences of sin are sometimes overwhelming. And even this breaks his heart. We are so in need of a Savior...so in need of his grace! Grace to bear the consequences, to live in this hurting world.
Please pray for Martina as she mourns the loss of her child. Even more, pray this loss will draw her to Christ and that we can help her with her problem with alcohol.
And pray for us...that Christ's love will overflow through us to bring hope to the hopeless and sight to the blind. Pray that we will have grace for this place and these people who are so in need of our Savior.
P.S. please check out our teammate, Misty's, blog for anther take on this story.
Kenneth and Kristi Williams
The Williams Family
Kenneth and Kristi
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Benaiah, 9 years
Jubal, 6 years
Jireh, 2 years
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