Hey everyone, Amy here!
So last week the Mi2: Kenya team spent a week serving at a Christian, mission hospital called A.I.C. Kijabe Hospital. The point of serving here was to spend time experiencing missions in a different context other than LIA so that we could compare the way they do missions and see other ways in which missions can be accomplished.
I was slightly dreading this week because I am not medically gifted at all so I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to do much. However, God proved me wrong yet again and taught me so much during this week at Kijabe. I spent most of my time visiting patients in the pediatric ward. I built many relationships with moms and their children and their eyes would light up every time I came to see them, not because it’s me and I’m awesome, but because people just want to be known. They just want to know that people care about them. I was hesitant about going to the pediatric ward because it breaks my heart to see sick children. What I wasn’t expecting was that I was more broken for the mothers of these children. For a majority of these children, they have undergone major surgery and/or the diagnosis of these children remains a mystery. As a mother (I’m assuming since I am not a mother myself) you just want to make things better for your child, you want to protect them at all costs. You want to take away their pain and tell them it’s all going to be okay. For these mothers, they can’t do anything to help their children get better besides be there with them 24/7. As we were talking to these mothers, you could see in their eyes how much they love their children and at the same time you could see how they are just plagued with uncertainty about their child’s health to their family at home to the medical expenses being provided.
There were two mothers that absolutely gripped my heart and I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to talk with them, to hear their hearts, to show them the love of Christ, and to pray with them. The first mother is called Martha and her daughter is called Milkah. Milkah is 15, paralyzed, and completely unable to communicate. She was in the hospital for bed sores. As we were talking to Martha, Bonsai talked about how in heaven Milkah will be able to walk and jump and praise her Savior. Tears just started to roll silently down her cheek. Martha didn’t say any words, but I could see in her eyes that she was just spent and exhausted. I could tell the enormous amount of love she had for her daughter and that she was heartbroken that her daughter would never have a “normal” life. I could see in her eyes how exhausted and burdened she was. I visited her a couple times and prayed for her-both of us crying, of course. I prayed that she would fully cast her burden on Jesus and to find rest in him. I told her that Jesus sees her and he is walking with her and Milkah. I told her that Milkah is a blessing and that God entrusted his daughter Milkah to her because he knew that no one else would be able to love Milkah like she would and does.
Another mother and daughter I fell in love with is a woman called Josephine and her daughter named Flovy. Flovy is 12 years old and was a normal 12 year old until January when she suddenly was unable to walk. Josephine and Flovy have been in and out of the hospital for months trying to figure out what is wrong with Flovy. All they know is that it is a spinal problem. The first thing I noticed about Josephine was the insane amount of joy she had. There was no question that this woman loved Jesus. We talked with her about Flovy and though there was so much uncertainty and so many questions, Josephine kept saying how she is trusting God-trusting God to give the doctor’s wisdom in treating Flovy, trusting God to heal Flovy, trusting God to provide her, Flovy, and her family at home with strength and peace, and trusting God to provide the medical expenses (even though her husband does not have a job). This woman’s faith is strong! Before we prayed for them, I bent down to talk to Flovy (who is BEAUTIFUL) and I asked her how she was. She started to say “good”, but stopped. I could tell that she wanted to say more but she didn’t know how to put it into words. However, I could see in her eyes that she was struggling, that she was full of questions. I can only imagine how she felt—one day you are just a normal 12 year old and then one day you can’t walk. Preteen and teenage years are hard enough when you aren’t sick, but being 12 and suddenly unable to walk is devastating to one’s self-esteem. We prayed over them and asked God to continue giving them joy, strength, and hope. The best part though happened after we moved on to the next bed. As we were talking to the next mom, we heard singing behind us. Josephine was lying next to Flovy with a hymn book opened and she was singing hymns to Flovy. She was encouraging Flovy with praises to God. I was so impressed and encouraged by Josephine’s faith.
My time in the pediatric ward was emotionally exhausting, but one of the most rewarding experiences of the summer. These mothers are burdened with so much and are so worried about their children, but they cannot do anything to help them. Most of them are far from home and their husbands are at home working and taking care of the other children. They just need to know that they are loved and that they are not in this alone. They needed someone to come and share the burden with them for a bit. I didn’t know any of these women, but God gave me a love for them—a love for them like his. A love that’s unconditional. A love that requires you to pour yourself out, to spend yourself on behalf of the broken and the hurting, but there is absolutely nothing in it for you. There was no benefit for me to love these women and their daughters, but I allowed God to love them through me, I acted in obedience to Jesus’s command to “love one another”, and I loved selflessly; and, I have never felt closer to the Father’s heart. I’ve never been so fulfilled or full of joy. God is so good.
Though I learned this week that my place in missions is definitely within the community rather than in a hospital, missions requires us to selflessly love every single moment or every single day. Missions isn't about going and serving God in a really cool place, it's about pouring yourself out over and over again on behalf of others. I'm thankful that God used Kijabe, a place where I wasn't sure I could really serve him, to use me in ways that I never imagined and to teach me