A tough week, but God reigns

The title above transports me back in time, to the note I shared on Facebook almost 6 years ago when we were losing our first child. And after the trials of the past week... it feels appropriate once again.

This last week has been... heavy. Heavy like the rains that have been falling on Kapsowar like clockwork... even leaving our ambulance stranded in the mud. Mamas have lost babies (including from a condition called Hydrops which is super close to my heart thanks to a precious client and friend’s miracle baby Israel). Another precious baby was lost to abortion despite the team’s best efforts to encourage the mama in grace and hope. A newborn baby lost her mama shortly after birth due to retained placenta (she wasn’t at the hospital during delivery). A pregnant woman passed away and was DOA, and it was too late to save the baby by the time they arrived in the ER. Another local pregnant woman was a victim of a horrible domestic violence attack with a ponga (Kenyan machete) and has had to undergo numerous surgeries. (But praise God she and baby are still alive!)

This is only a sampling of the heartache so many in this community have been grappling with... doing their best to keep moving forward and serving those around them with the very best of the limited resources available.

Wednesday night during Jake’s call shift, he got called from dinner to a c-section for a mama whose membranes had ruptured in advance of her scheduled CS the next day, and I had the privilege of going with him. By the time we got to the theatre (OR), the CS had become emergent, as baby was struggling and had meconium in her fluids. I was able to document a few shots, but for the most part my camera hung loosely around my neck out of respect for the seriousness of the situation. Instead, I knew without a doubt that my role there was simply to pray. Prayers for peace for the mama. Supernatural wisdom and skill for the doctors. Strong cries and circulation for baby.

It was a difficult delivery. Baby was transverse and didn’t seem to want to leave the place that had been her home for 9 months... but the physicians acted smoothly and quickly to bring baby Earthside. The silence that followed was deafening as we all waited and prayed for that sweet little one to cry.

Praise God, after about a minute of good stimulation and suction, this sweet new baby girl let out a soft wail. Tears filled my eyes as I began to utter more prayers for more cries, speaking softly to baby through my mask... “Come on baby. Show us how strong you are... just keep crying.”

Ultimately, baby girl needed some oxygen, so was whisked to the NBU (NICU) - and mama needed some blood - but we left the hospital late in the evening with sweat on our brows and smiles across our faces, thankful for God’s provision because both mom and baby were stable and doing well!

In the days since, we have waded in the rain through personal health issues, literal downpours causing cabin fever for the kiddos and transportation issues, and just a general heaviness in our spirits for the brokenness in the community that we love so much.

But amidst the sorrow and rain, there is hope.

“Many are saying of me, “God will not deliver him.” But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. I call out to the Lord, and he answers me from his holy mountain.  I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.  I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side.” Psalm 3:2-6

Truly, the Lord is our shield here. He is the umbrella when the rains get overwhelming. And the one that allows sweet blooms to grow amidst the mud.

The last week has held great sorrow. But it has also held joy in the long-awaited cry of a newborn babe. Generosity in the hearts of children giving away their best artwork and last sucker to a patient in need of a pick me up. Hope in the hearts of rooms full of women and youth leaders determined to be change-makers in their communities too-long chained to the perils of alcoholism, violence, and abortion. Courage and beauty in the words of a group of Hong Kong medical students who are unashamed to proclaim the gospel and share how Christ has changed their lives for the better.

The enemy has no true foothold here, as ardently as he tries. Because despite the sin that so entangles, the Lord has grace overflowing to redeem His creation. Lifting hands to the Redeemer today. 🙌🏻

Enjoy some of my fave photos from the past week below! (First little slideshow is a few of the kiddos at play, second set is from various ministry/medicine work!)