This morning we went to Antoine and Mathy to visit them. We stopped at the grocery store on our way to buy some food and coloring books for the kids, and I wanted to buy the entire store for them, just wishing any part of it would help. I know nothing will, and even though I can't imagine where they are, I do have some sense because of Kieren's accident so fresh still in my mind. I remember that people would ask what they could do and there was NOTHING they could do. All we desperately desired was for her to be healed, and we just needed Jesus. We drove up to their home, which is in the Capricorn township. It is a very dangerous and desperate area, with many refugees living there. Antoine and Mathy escaped to South Africa from the Congo where their lives were at risk. There are other Congolese refugees there, but they find themselves at home with many other refugee groups, as they are all persecuted by black South Africans. Antoine slowly came out to meet us and I could instantly see the anguish in his face. He looked as though he was in physical pain; and he might be feeling that way. We hugged and cried together as I told him I loved him. Then we went inside where Mathy was sitting with some other friends. She immediately stood up and began to wail. As I put my arms around her she fell into me and shouted, "No Sarah!" She cried out that I was going to come to meet her baby today and now her baby is gone. She was crying and wailing and almost unintelligible. The woman next to her turned out to be a nurse and immediately had us separate and sit as Mathy has been struggling with dangerously high blood pressure since the birth of her daughter and has to stay calm for her health. She calmed and we spoke a bit. Kieren was with Casey and I, and that immediately brought life and smiles into the room, as it had been a long time since Mathy had seen Kieren. I then spoke with Antoine and heard the full story of baby Lauren's death.
Antoine and Mathy took baby Lauren to the hospital yesterday for a routine check-up, and all was well and healthy with baby. They advised Mathy to lay Lauren on her chest as they traveled, as it was a windy and cool day in Cape Town. Mathy bundled Lauren in her jacket and covered her head as she fell asleep. When they returned home, at the front door, Mathy went to take baby Lauren out of her jacket and realized Lauren was limp. She called over Antoine, and the saw blood coming from the limp baby's nose. They immediately called their church and a member came in 5 minutes and took them to the hospital. Baby Lauren then vomited blood, and when they got to the hospital the nurses immediately took her back and didn't allow the parents to follow. They returned five minutes lately to tell them that the baby had passed away. They do not even know what caused the death to the seemingly healthy newborn, but Antoine thinks it might be a valve that burst between her heart and lungs, but I don't know if there is ever a way to know. And even then, it probably wouldn't help the deep heartbreak they are facing. We stayed for about an hour and talked. We ended in prayer with a group who was gathered at the house, led by myself and a chaplain from the Living Hope organization who was there. It was at the very least comforting for myself to bring these beloved friends to the throne of God and speak the truths that we all need to cling to in this time. Antoine left with another friend to make funeral arrangements for baby Lauren.
I left feeling both sad and numb and also just helpless. I wish there was anything we could do, but I know that prayer and love do make a difference. To have people to walk with you and help you survive is vital. They are sleeping and eating and I gave them some worship cds so that more truths could be sung over them. For myself, I was deeply sad last night just knowing these special people were suffering through such a tragedy. It makes you wonder why God would allow something to such saints; people who have devoted their entire lives to serving and glorifying Him. I was speaking later today to Lucinda, one of the pastors at Hillsong (they are AMAZING at loving us!!) and she was saying that maybe God allows things like this to those who he knows can handle it. I do know that Antoine and Mathy can walk through this and that this piece of their story will glorify Jesus, but presently all I can see are the ashes. I pray that He will make things beautiful and whole again and restore these dear friends.
Please continue to pray for this family and Casey and I as we minister to them.
Lots of love,