(Sorry for the awful formatting…)
My last few weeks in Moz. were very busy, wrapping up as many loose ends as possible.
I wrote up protocol for Dorca to follow in various situations.
I printed and assembled 2 more trainer’s handbooks for the 2 new community health educators.
I bought supplies for and assembled 2 sets of demonstration materials for the CHEs to bring with them to their weekly teaching sessions.
I printed and laminated a certificate for the first community health educator that Dorca trained herself!
I painted the scripture John 10:10 in Portuguese on the wall in the clinic and glazed the bricks, as requested by the program manager. (Compare this picture to the picture in the previous post, “Contexts”.)
I collected as many attendance cards as possible, giving out a reward of soap to each caretaker with 5 or more out of the 12 lessons in the course.
I finished a second windchime made from spare parts in the tool room.
I held a ceremony for the Simba Madzimai (Powerful Mothers) at the last meeting that I would attend, presenting each with a “capulana”, which we are all wearing in the photo. I also showed them a map of the world, teaching them the continents, from where I come and where they live, about the many cultures of the world (using the children’s book “People”), about my journey by plane and car to Mozambique, and about the rotation and orbit of the earth to make the days and seasons. Many of these women also attended the hygiene and health course offered to the parents of the children enrolled at the pre-school. Soon, the director of the pre-school will be starting a literacy class for these same parents!
Here’s a true story, written beautifully by a new friend and missionary nurse, Sarah, about the mother of the baby that I mentioned had died suddenly.
“There are occasionally children and mothers who the Lord captures our hearts for in a special way at the clinic. This happened with one very sick mother and baby. The mom is from a people group that identifies rites of passage with tattooing and scarring. Her face and arms have little black dots of tattoos and thin 1cm long lines of scars patterned throughout. The baby, Marta, had a unique physical feature of a small, white patch of hair on top of her head. We called it her halo. The mom was skin and bones. She has AIDS but was not on any antiretroviral medicine. We later learned that she also had TB. The baby also was very sick but had not yet been tested for HIV. They were admitted onto the nutrition program, helped with money for transport and sent directly to a local hospital to begin the process for HIV testing and ARVs with the expectation that they would return in a week. This is a normal occurrence at the clinic.
However, when they had not returned after a month, the Lord placed them on the heart of one of the nurses. Through the communication lines that only work here: this person knows a neighbor, the neighbor knows an older sibling of the baby, and the sibling knows which relatives the mom is likely staying with in town and he gives directions. They arrive at the relative’s home, the nurse sees the mom, sitting alone on the ground. When the nurse called the mom’s name, ‘Mae Marta’, she slowly turned around. When she saw who called her name, all she said was, ‘You came for me. No one has ever come for me before.’ She had no hope left. There was no future. Just sitting there hour by hour, day by day. She was so weak she was unable to carry her own baby. She had gone to the hospital but did not receive help. Being too weak to do any work to earn money for transport back to us, she had no option other than just sit with no reason to hope, knowing that her life would probably not last much longer. Not knowing that the Lord loves her and loves her baby and that He had sent His hands and feet to her. He had sent part of His body to show her His love, give her His hope. He had sent someone back for her.
Sadly, the story doesn’t end like we would like it too. Baby Marta died suddenly about 3 weeks ago. She was HIV+ but was doing better, getting stronger. Some things, a lot of things, we will not understand here. But God is good and He is in control. We trust in Him. Mae Marta is doing much better. She lives close to us now so we can help monitor her TB medication and she was able to start ARVs this week. She is getting stronger every day. Today we saw her lifting a heavy parcel of food onto her head without difficulty.
To me, this is a very real example of what is means to be the body of Christ. The living, active, loving, body of Christ. We talk often of how great of a privilege it is to serve the Lord here. The privilege of loving those that have been cast out and left for dead. Being the first person to ever tell a child they are beautiful and valuable. Seeing how those simple words soften the face of the worried, over-burdened grandmother who already has too many children at home and now has one more mouth to feed because her daughter just died. Listening to and praying for the father whose wife just died. Now he is a single dad with no clue how change a nappie and then being able to show him how to make a bottle of milk and change that dirty nappie. The best part is seeing the father return the following week delighted with himself that he and the baby survived the week.
It is truly a gift to part of the body of Christ. An undeserving gift. Remember, He came back for us first. We have all had someone come for us before. Jesus. Being born as a baby, living a sinless life, dying for our sins, and then defeating satan, defying death, He rose from the grave and returned to His Father in heaven. He came back for us so that we could be with Him forever. ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him.’ John 3:16″
This is the reason for, and the motivation behind, all that I do.