Thursday, September 9, 2010
Today turned from a simple and beautiful day into a cold and dark one, literally and emotionally. Strangely, it was warm and sunny much of the day and in the afternoon it quickly turned cool, cloudy, and dark. This is how the day has gone for me.
Granny Jacoba will sometimes ask me to visit a friend of hers to pray for them or just encourage them. One of these friends has been Auntie Katie. Katie is the cousin of Jacoba's best friend Aunt Katie (I know, same name). So I visited cousin Auntie Katie months ago as she was battling cancer, and it has been a reoccurring prayer request for Jacoba as she has watched her dear friend care for her ailing cousin. Since I have been back Jacoba has been asking me to visit cousin Auntie Katie who has gotten much worse, and then this week on morphine and just at home to be comfortable. Today, Jacoba asked me again to visit because they believed Auntie Katie was dying. So we waited until Casey could stay with Kieren and went together to her home. Jacoba's friend Katie was there, along with cousin Katie's daughter, Felicity. We sat for a bit and talked and were about to pray when Jacoba and Katie's entire support group (SWEET, old men and women) came to visit cousin Katie. We stood in a circle and I laid hands on cousin Katie, and we prayed and sang. Midway through the prayers I noticed that I couldn't see cousin Katie breathing anymore (which had been strong but labored before). When the prayer was done, I told Jacoba I believed Katie had stopped breathing, and indeed she had passed away as we encircled her in prayer, song, and love, lifting her to the Lord. In the prayer I spoke to Katie and told her that we loved her and we were ready for her to let go and be with Jesus whenever she was ready, and that is exactly what she did. It was a humbling, beautiful, and heartbreaking moment. The family began to grieve and almost immediately people came in to comfort, help, and say goodbye. I have never been a part of a moment like that before, and feel so privileged. Granny Jacoba says it was a moment she will never forget, and I don't think I will either.
Then this afternoon, as I felt the clouds hovering around my heart a bit, just feeling sad about witnessing death today, I received a text from my great friend Antoine. Antoine and Mathy are Congolese refugees that work for Living Hope and have been great friends since 2008 and an inspiration to many. Antoine and I had been talking this week because their third child, Lauren, was born a couple weeks ago, but mom and baby had to stay in hospital until this week because of complications. They were finally home and we were going to visit them tomorrow. Abruptly I received a text from Antoine telling me that their new baby just passed away. I had a brief phone conversation with him following the text, and I am going to go tomorrow to see what I can do to help. Obviously they are in shock and heartbreak, and I can't even imagine their pain and confusion. I was so excited to meet this little girl tomorrow and now I can only say goodbye with this grieving family. My heart is heavy.
Please pray for these families as they continue to say goodbye and work through their pain and confusion. Pray they will bring their entire hearts straight to the Lord who is the ultimate Comforter. Pray that God will use us to love and help, particularly our dear friends Antoine and Mathy and their two kids Onesie and Christ.