Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Sadness and joy

Children’s deaths hurts, angers It's Sunday, the 7th of May, and we are standing by a simple dirt grave of a child, in a clearing of bush, close to the village of Mununu. People are singing hymns in Kisanga and the relatives and friends are crying. A small wood cross will mark this spot until it is worn away by weather or ants. There are mounds of dirt graves all around, marked recently, showing how fragile life is here. When it is over, we will go back to the family dwelling and the women will sit, inside on the dirt floor, with the mother and the men outside. There will be exhortations, prayers and songs to encourage the bereaved. People will spend the night, for three nights with the family. It is the second time in a week we have buried a child in this graveyard!! This one, a girl baby, of one and a half and last week one of our "adopted" grandchildren, a boy of seven! Rodrigo died of complications of typhoid that no one seemed to have followed through on. We have watched him grow since a baby and he has been going to school. Mujinga, the baby, died from complications of meningitis. Both mothers are graduates of our Women's School and live and work in the village. We have also lost three kids from the Nutrition program in the past two weeks. It all hurts and you feel anger and hopelessness ....the five year old, Louise, hit me the most, of our nutrition kids. We have been trying to keep her going, and turn her around, for four weeks at our dispensary. It was just too late!! She was literally just skin and bones with huge sores on her back because of the malnutrition and skin breaking down. Her face was almost hollowed out as the skin stretched over the bones. She mostly slept but every once and awhile she would rally and half way sit up and want to eat. Her parents had had her far away, in their gardens, and even though she seemed half dead, they felt they needed to stay. Finally, her grandparents came and brought her to the hospital. We trust that Jesus is holding these children near to Him and they are feeding on heavenly food!! So, these weeks, have as usual, come with "the ups and the downs", cycles of life that seem to pass too soon for these and other children. We just ask the Lord to help us be faithful in what we can do and how to help and we ask for your prayers also. “Ups” include teaching, nature in bloom Some of our "ups" have included just being back and getting into the swing of things and teaching our classes. Of course, the Seminary graduates are hard at work with papers and thesis and the women preparing their remaining projects. We are at the end of the rainy season so flowers are still in bloom and everything is green. We especially are enjoying the white poinsettia plants which look like bridal veils. New Mexico team adds running water We have also had two VIM work Teams. A crew from New Mexico-West Texas Conference, some pastors, a doctor, a lawyer and mix of medical roles and were here two weeks. We were encouraged by their fellowship and work as they went about finding what they could do and help with. As usual Congo had a "hiccough" and we could not find any paint for the designated projects so back to another plan!! For us, it came as a surprise that they were gifted in many different areas and one was plumbing. We now, with our running water, have a new toilet that actually flushes!!! Maybe not a big item in your lives, but for us another first!!! They were able to minister in our early morning prayer group and share with the graduates of the Seminary, for this year. WA Pacific team of women sews and quilts Our next Team was here just a short time...3 days ...but they were nine women who came with many creative and sewing gifts. They came from WA Pacific conference. We spent a complete day having them work with women on quilts and pastor's stoles....these kinds of things do not need much translation but smiles and laughs as we work together. In a short time there was already a bond built and more so because they shared about being mothers and grandmothers together. Prayers Please, keep the ministry here in your prayers and especially those graduating as they come to the end of their studies. Pray for their growth in the Lord and Spiritual life. We are in the process of also working on the new Internet service. Pray for this. ---Remember we are still not hooked up and your email messages are being ferried by Jeff, back and forth from Lubumbashi when he comes to teach. So keep calm if we do not respond to your email in a hurry! Continue to pray for the country and the new government and for Bishop and his council as they prepare for five annual conferences. Those needing pictures please check our Flickr photo blog and the Mulungwishi ministry website. We have no way of sending things at this time. Those working on supplies for the Women's School and baby clothes please email Terri Hobbs at skipjack@whidbey.net or call her at 360-675-0102 or 360-320-1323. Thank you so much for your efforts and remember to pray for the women and babies and the container. Thank you again and keep praying.

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