Death is a always a hard thing to deal with....but for some reason it seems so much worse to me when its babies, children, or youth who die. Today I went to Matola for kid's church at Zacarius' house. I was greeted by a bunch of the kids as soon as I turned off the main road. This has become their new tradition...waiting for me at the road each week so that they can jump in the car and ride with me the mile back to their house. Only today they were all quite as they entered the car and began telling Manuel, Nelson, and Binario (the 3 youth from Iris Ministries who help me each week) about the tragedy that had struck. I was clueless as they spoke in Shanghan, the local dialect. Then Nelson, who has really taken a leadership role with Kid's Church, turned to me and told me that 2 very bad things had happened. 2 babies had died since our visit the Tuesday before.
Baby Nelson, was around one year old. He and the Nelson from Iris had bonded week after week as they shared the same name. Last week, older Nelson had carried little Nelson around in his arms during the Bible lesson and as the kids played games. I remember just before we left, I took a package of washing powder away from little Nelson and told older Nelson to watch his little friend because he was eating soap. We enjoyed a laugh together at how cute little Nelson was. Not long after we left, little Nelson wondered off by himself into the bathroom. In an African village the bathroom consists of a deep hole dug in the ground. Normally the toilet is covered when not in use but on this day, the cover had been left off. An hour later, as Lena, Zacarius' mom, and some of the neighbors sat around, they smelled the toilet and sent someone to cover it. That's when little Nelson was discovered. He had fallen into the toilet. Lena rushed him to the hospital as his mom remained at home, to upset to move. But it was too late. Little Nelson was dead.
That was the first tragedy.
On Saturday...only 4 days later... Lena's sister, Lisa, who also lives in the village, was rushed to the hospital. She was at least 8 months pregnant. The doctors wanted to do surgery to deliver the baby but because of a condition with Lisa's heart they were not able to and the baby died. Lisa is still in the hospital. She has been given medicine to induce labor and is just waiting to give birth to her baby...without life.
That was the second tragedy.
The lives of 2 precious little ones taken before they had really begun. But in Africa, surrounded by such poverty, I find myself wondering if these little ones aren't better off. They are with Jesus now where they will never have to know the pain of going days without food or freezing at night because the family can't afford blankets.
Yet the sadness lingers...both with me and the families in that little village in Matola. Please pray for the comfort of God over them as they gather in their homes tonight and over Lisa as she lays in the hospital.