Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Send Me Lord

Monday Afternoon:

At around 10:30am today we went to a gathering where pretty much everyone there had HIV/aids. It was a meeting where men, women and children came from miles around once a month to encourage one another and share their stories. A local pastor gathers them and shares something with them that would encourage them, then the clinic nurse stands up and shares on a number of fronts that they need to be aware of, and then they heard stories from one another. Before they left, we ate together.

They started out the meeting dancing and singing to the Lord. One lady up front got up on her weak legs and wanted to join in the dance and yet never had the strength. She looked the most joyful of all of them. A couple of ladies grabbed hold of her and helped her get out to the center and dance and sing with the others. She lost steam a few seconds later but you could see it on her face and those that helped her that it was well worth the effort.

Later I found out that this lady had a stroke after she got HIV/Aids and her family put her out of the house and shipped back to her home town to die. They told her she was not wanted and all her earthly possessions would be given to her sisters because she would have no use for them anymore.

One lady had a tiny little baby cradled in her arms as she danced and sang. She was not able to take her eyes and her smile off of her baby. I’m not sure if it was hers, most of the children present were orphaned from parents that had been passed on from their sickness. This one was young enough that it was probably hers and she was enjoying a special moment with her child. Perhaps with the thought of knowing that she might leave this child behind here at some point in the future due to her own disease.

Kathleen got up and joined with them in the dance around the circle as they sang praises to God. When the dance was over she sat down panting and said, “It’s hard work being African!”

Then Peter got up and led everyone in some more singing. Peter is around 17 today and about the build of an average 9-10 year old boy. I don’t think he can weigh much more than 60-70 lbs. He is not as thin as he once was due to medicine and better eating. Still and orphan and living with someone that cares. They sang a song of “We will worship God!” and after that he then led then in a song that went something like, “Who will go for me? Father I will go for You, send me!” Profound words for 40 people to be singing at the top of their lungs and have HIV/Aids.

As I watched and listened, I saw faces in the crowd that were full of joy, some full of fear, some painted with sadness, perhaps even some with anger etched on their brow. The fact that they were there at this meeting said volumes though. They were seeking some meaningful sense of hope, an increased level of faith, and some love and compassion. There were lots of all of those things here today.

Today I also meet Godfrey. He is 9 years old and has HIV/Aids and malaria. He is all skin and bones and looked like Peter a couple of years ago. He is feverish. I could feel the heat permeating off of him as I held his arm. I was privileged to share my plate of food with him and he ate well for such a sick little boy.

Kathleen held a little girl named Hanna on her lap and she was very sick. As she sat on her lap there was no movement, no squirming, no busy little girl talking, just a little girl that had barely enough strength to lift a bit of rice to her mouth as she shared a plate of food with Kathleen. Kathleen mentioned that when she lifted her up to her lap all she could feel was a tiny little rib cage with nothing else around it. She was 9 too, just like Godfrey. We thought maybe 6 until we were told different.

Today I experienced God’s presence through these people.


(no pics on this to protect the privacy for those in attendance)

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