life, death and all that hangs in the balance…

There is an orange glow on top of Mount Nyiro tonight.  The fires that burn the mountain look large and looming even though there are thousands of feet between them and I.  I am quite assured that even the great winds will not push this fury over the crest and down the mountain.  I am told it is somewhat a tradition, to burn the mountain at times, allowing for new growth to take root when the rains come.  Funny the thread of redemption, seems to be laced within Creation itself, a returning theme that death can bring life.

On Thursday we visited Mzee William Lempirias in his mynyatta.  This old mzee, now very sick, (throat cancer) likely only a number of days away from the end was sitting on a cow hyde, His weary worn face looked sad.  He did not have the same humorous glint in his eyes when he has come by the house times before determined that the multivitamins I was giving was going to help cure him of his illness.  There have been many serious talks trying to convince William his need to go to hospital, but today, he seemed resigned to stay in the mynyatta so he can receive a Samburu blessing from his family before he dies. It is hard to hear his chest rattling with a whistle as he draws each breath.  After hearing he was doing especially poorly, we felt the need to see if he needed food or medicine and to also visit him and share with him that he does not need to fear the end, there is Hope, there is Jesus. He listened quietly.  With his shaking hands, he cradled the Bible, placing the red ribbon book mark again and again in the pages that were shown him.  Andrea spoke and Isaya prayed and although we did not understand the Samburu words exchanged, William thanked us for coming and asked that we continue to pray that he would find peace.

A few houses over we visited a new born baby boy, a month old.  In my little Samburu, I was able to ask, Ndyito? aw Leyunni?  (girl or boy?) and Nkarno Ino (what is the name).  The mama smiled with a wide grin, her eyes glowing with love and pride as she watched her curly haired boy open his eyes and stretch out his arms.  Seemed a contrast between this child and old man, yet only living a few feet away.

captivated

captivated

Before we got back in the LandRover we made a stop to see Jonah.  He is going by plane on Monday to Kijabe hospital for evaluation.  I was glad to see that the family has made him a bed off of the ground and covered with sticks to keep flies and other animals away.  He has been unwell lately, having difficulty with eating.  There was scarcely a form under the covers, but he smiled and noted that he didn’t fear to fly on the plane, he would be brave, which given his bravery already of enduring a painful and debilitating illness, seemed a very sweet thing for him to say. Oh how I hope that this boy is able to find some relief from the illness he has had these many months.

Jonah

Jonah

Today I got a call about another boy… and must admit the walls of my limitation seemed to fly in front of me, causing me to feel burdened by yet another patient with an urgent need.  I started calculating logistics, and costs and figuring out the next round of emails I would have to pen in order to arrange hospital and transport. It would be much easier to not see the boy and recommend they take him to the government hospital, which although would appease my guilt for a while, would in the end likely leave this boy in the same condition or worse.  No, that will not do.  off to the mynyatta.

Now we are getting kind of good at these trips,- children plunge into the back seat, water bottles in tow Jesse in shotgun on mom’s lap reaching for the gearbox, chanting, “cool car”.  By the time we pass the bumps of Kurungu he has been lured (or lurched) into a state of sleepiness.  Jay drives a considerable distance more than where we have been led to believe we are going, (always, “Oh, the mynyatta is so close!”) by those in the backseat offering direction in Samburu of which path to take. Generally one can only get so close to the mynyatta by car, so Jay finds a spot to park, while I go search out the patient.  Wrestling with thorn bush while Jesse points at anything with two legs quite emphatically declaring it a “chicken” or “camel”.  Children rush up to greet us as the shy mama’s stand by the doors of their hut, gathering their skirts about them and finding a stool to place in the crooked shade of a skinny tree where we can sit and rest.   The boy we saw today was named Doreno.

Doreno

Doreno

Four months ago he was healthy, walking to the primary school to attend his grade eight class.  Today he is unable to walk without considerable assistance.  His left leg is wasting and shortened.  He has wounds on his hip and shoulder which cause him pain.  At night he cries out, unable to sleep.  Still he smiles, and looks like he has not a care in the world or is presently not the centre of a community discussion on what to do with him.  Which brings me to the dilemma of what to do with him.

There has been this mental sermon playing off and on for the better part of the day.  It is the tension of faith, the stretch between reasonable belief and Divine belief.

I can hear in my head the sensible logic, “Do what you are able to do”   But the problem is I don’t want to do what I am able to do,- because quite frankly that is quite little and poorly done.

No, I don’t want to show people what I can do,- I want to show them what God can do, I don’t want to reveal to others the limits of my love, but the limitless love of the Father.  So the debate is not how much do I do to help, but how do I simply and with steadfast heart live out His love. I must live with the confidence that I actually do believe that He is able and will do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine. He is stretching me,- my limits of faith, so the limits can yet expand.  So, I am a bit sore (with all the stretching) and tired, and in need of chocolate (and I am down to my last snickers bar) But at  the end of a long week, the anticipation of sending one boy to hospital  (which seemed very reasonable to do) now has doubled, and I am going to trust that He will do something great!

We must look to Mary’s example to know how to deal with the glorious impossibilities of God. Look how she turned the world upside down by making one simple statement: “Consider me the Lord’s slave. May it be done to me according to your word.” – Calvin Miller