Monday, June 29, 2009
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Yes, I do. Shhhh, don't tell anyone! I'm too young to go to prison!
Oh! Then Ana and I left the book store and went to sit at a table in front of Chipotle. Because, apparently, her mom was on her way (which, as we found out an hour later, wasn't true). We were just sitting there, singing, not really taking notice of the table next to us. At that table, there was a group of mabye six people, all wearing bright green and bright yellow. One guy had a yellow shirt with a green scarf, one had a green shirt and intense green eyes, one lady had a green sweater with yellow earrings, etc. You get the picture. They were all leaning over their table. Every few minutes, someone new would walk up (wearing green and yellow, of course) and be greeted and welcome by the rest. Every once and a while, one would walk away from the group and begin talking in low tones on a cell phone. More people came. And more. Soon there were at least fifteen people, and they had surrounded our table as well by this time. And get this: they all looked Arabic or Persian (Hey, I'm not racist, I'm Arabic myself). So Ana and I took to calling them the Persian Terrorists. Soon, they all split up and left in different directions. They're gone, right? Not. Soon they began to pass us seperately or in pairs. After much discussion, Ana and I came to the conclusion that they were spies and we had come too close to discovering their secret, so now they were following us. Then, as they began to regroup at their table again, Ana'a mom finally came, and we ran to the car, safe and alive. So be careful if you go to the Spectrum wearing green or yellow. They may think you're one of them. Or maybe you already are...
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Monday, June 1, 2009
One night I had worked hard to help a mother in the labor ward, but in spite of all we could do, she died, leaving us with a tiny, premature baby and a crying two-year old daughter. We would have difficulty keeping the baby alive, as we had no incubator (we had no electricity to run an incubator). We also had no special feeding facilities. Although we lived on the equator, nights were often chilly with treacherous drafts. One student midwife went for the box we had for such babies and the cotton wool that the baby would be wrapped in. Another went to stoke up the fire and fill a hot water bottle. She came back shortly, in distress, to tell me that in filling the bottle, it had burst (rubber perishes easily in tropical climates).
"And it is out last hot water bottle!" she exclaimed.
As in the West, it is no good crying over spilled milk, so in Central Africa it is no good crying over burst water bottles. They do not grow on trees, and there were no drug stores down forest pathways.
"All right," I said. "Put the baby as near the fire as you safely can, and sleep between the baby and the door to keep it free from drafts. Your job is to keep the baby warm."
The following noon, as I did most days, I went to have prayers with any of the orphan children who chose to gather with me. I gave the youngsters various suggestions of things to pray about and told them about the tiny baby. I explained our problem about keeping the baby warm enough, mentioning the hot water bottle, and that the baby could so easily die if it got chills. I also told them of the two-year old sister, crying because her mother had died.
During our prayer time, one ten-year old girl, Ruth, prayed with the usual blunt conciseness of our African children.
"Please, God," she prayed. "Send us a water bottle. It'll be no good tomorrow, God, as the baby will be dead, so please send it this afternoon." While I gasped inwardly at the audacity of the prayer, she added, "And while You're about it, would You please send a dolly for the little girl, so she'll know You really love her?"
As often with children's prayers, I was put on the spot. Could I honestly say, "Amen"? I just did not believe that God could do this. Oh, yes, I know He can do everything, the Bible says so. But there are limits, aren't there? The only way God could answer this particular prayer would be by sending me a parcel from homeland. I had been in Africa for almost four years at the time, and I had never, ever received a parcel from home. Anyway, if anyone did send me a parcel, who would put in a hot water bottle? I lived on the equator!
Halfway through the afternoon, while I was teaching in the nurses' training school, a message was sent that there was a car at my front door. By the time I reached home, the car had gone, but there, on the veranda, was a large, twenty-two pound parcel. I felt tears pricking my eyes. I could not open the parcel alone, so I sent for the orphanage children.
Together we pulled off the string, carefully undoing each knot. We folded the paper, taking care not to tear it unduly. Excitement was mounting. Some thirty or forty pairs of eyes were focused on the large cardboard box. From the top, I lifted out brightly colored, knitted jerseys. Eyes sparkled as I gave them out.
Then there were knitted bandages for the leprosy patients, and the children looked a little bored. Then came a box of mixed raisins and nuts - that would make a batch of buns for the weekend. Then, as I put my hand in again, I felt the... could it really be? I grasped it and pulled it out - yes, a brand-new, rubber hot water bottle. I cried. I had not asked God to send it; I had not truly believed that He could. Ruth was in the front row of the children.
She rushed forward, crying out, "If God has sent the bottle, He must have sent the dolly, too!"
Rummaging down to the bottom of the box, she pulled out the small, beautifully dressed doll. Her eyes shone. She had never doubted. Looking up at me, she asked, "Can I go over with you and give this dolly to that little girl, so she'll know that Jesus really loves her?"
That parcel had been on its way for five months. Packed up by my former Sunday school class, whose leader had heard and obeyed God's prompting to send a hot water bottle, even to the equator. And one of the girls had put in a doll for an African child - five months before, in answer to the believing prayer of ten-year old girl to "bring it that afternoon".
Wow. Amazing story. And its true. It's so...incomprehensible that God knows what we will say before we say it, and that He will answer before we even call, as it says in Isaiah 65:24:
"Before they call, I will answer."