The following is an incredible blog post from our team leader in Zambia, Tim Hilty. Please take the time to read about how our brothers and sisters in Zambia are fighting the fight of faith in the midst of difficult times.
Last week a pastor in our mission’s pastors training classes passed through what most American’s would consider a tragedy. His wife gave birth to a baby boy via an emergency C-section operation. During the operation doctors and nurses told him to go home and wait for the outcome. They told him that the procedure was 50/50 survival for wife and child.
The next morning he returned to the hospital and found wonderful news waiting. His wife and child were okay… His boy was born with birth defects but the prognosis for future procedures seemed good. A week passed and all seemed well… He and his wife were exhausted from taking care of a newborn and recovering from the invasive surgery. Friday night they went to sleep and in the morning they found the baby struggling to breath.
They rushed to the government hospital but their son died on the way. The doctors pronounced the child BID (Brought In Dead). What started out as just another morning turned into a visit to the police, mortuary and hasty funeral service. In Zambia, children who are days / weeks old are not given the typical funeral. The pastor and his wife had not yet given the boy a name so the government documents indicated “son of…” Within hours, the death had been processed by the authorities and burial plot was given to the family in crisis. By 13 hrs. that afternoon, everything was finalized. The pastor and his wife returned to their home, stunned and exhausted.
I visited them the following day and sat with them in their home, me being mostly quiet. Lots of family members were packed into every room of the small house. Mothers, sisters, nieces, uncles sat on the floor and we all sat in silence. Communication was evident, soul to soul, spirit to spirit. Being surrounded by community like that would have been uncomfortable to me if I were the one loosing a child. I would probably want to be left alone. Not so in Zambia, the community shows profound solidarity and draws close to the grieving.
Looking around the room I saw the faces… and wondered how the happenings of the day before could possibly be true. The pastor was warm and appreciative of me passing through his place. He shared with me his deep conviction of the “supremacy of Christ” even in the midst of loss. He shared how he felt the tangible comfort of his Savior. As he talked I glanced over at his front door… A paper had been posted there at eye-level – no doubt put there deliberately. I’ll never forget what it read:
“Happiness depends on happenings, joy depends on Jesus.”
Already, the pastor had begun his fight for joy… in the midst of everything he had decided to soldier on.