For once, Andrew and I weren’t the only muzungus (white people) so we weren’t obligated to constantly be sharing messages from the pulpit. Instead we were able to serve with our other talents and passions. One particular day, we did a kids crusade where we preached and Andrew split all the children into teams and refereed an intense soccer game.
After I finished sharing a short message with the children, a young girl named Daisy approached me, “I’m sick, will you pray for me?” When I clasped my hands around her shoulders and began to pray, I was startled to realize that her upper arms were about the same circumference as my wrists. As I continued to pray I clasped down on her arms to realize that this girl was nothing but skin and bones. After praying with her I discovered that she was so sick that she couldn’t walk because she was so weak, she had severe chest pains, a horrible cough. Daisy was 9 years old and had the body of a 5 or 6 year old. She has been sick for 3 years. Her eyes were tired and desperate…
I had Daisy sit beside me until the end of the kids’ crusade, when Bob (our translator) began lining the children up to give toys and candy. Daisy was so sick that she couldn’t even move to get treats, she didn’t even care; she just shivered and coughed… She was hopeless. Almost overwhelmed by emotion, I got up and got her treats for her. It was at that time, I was reminded of the principle Jesus presented to us in the Bible of taking the time for the one sheep.
I let Andrew, Bob and the other kids helpers leave the building for the soccer game and found a girl who knew enough English to get me around. We took turns holding Daisy as we tried to find whoever she came with. It was obvious that she hadn’t walked there alone. After nearly an hour of walking through the village, looking, we figured out that an ‘auntie’ brought Daisy to the crusade and left her there. We also found out that Daisy had a father that worked in Kampala (a city that was at least 7-8 hours away) and her mother was a mentally troubled woman with absolutely no reception to the Gospel.
“I would like to go to her home,” I told the villagers, “bring me to Daisy’s home.” The villagers told me that mom would not be home and she hardly ever was. “I would like to talk to the auntie,” I said. The village girls told me they would arrange this for me and that they would get Daisy’s auntie to come to the night time crusade. Sadly, when the night crusade started a village girl came to tell me that the auntie might come, but didn’t want to talk to me about Daisy. We found a way to get Daisy home, but that was all I could do. I had to let a little girl on the brink of death just go home. The family was too troubled, the auntie didn’t care and the nearby hospital was not accepting patients because they had no drugs. There was nothing I could do but pray . . .
Unfortunately, this situation is all too common in Africa. Any seasoned missionary could probably tell you what Daisy probably had: HIV. Her symptoms showed she was in the last stages, the longevity of the sickness and the hopelessness of her loved ones were major clues to the puzzle. The sad thing is that there was hope. . . Jesus is the healer and maybe if her family would take the time to believe, they would see Daisy be healed along with the many, many people who healed in Matooma that week.
Furthermore, ARV’s can extend the life of a person up to 20+ years. Andrew and I had decided that if we could find someone who was in charge of her, we would take her to the hospital in the city and have WOMF (the organization we were with) get her on the treatment. We also agreed that if God opened this door for Daisy, that we would pay for the treatment. I told the pastor of the local church about Daisy and about our willingness to help, but he said that there was a good chance her guardians didn’t even want us to help. . . They had given up in their hearts, in their spirit and in their minds.
Daisy is an example of the many children who have been given a chance to be treated in Africa, but have been neglected treatment because of a fatalistic mindset. Andrew and I were more than willing to help, but the people with authority over her (her guardians) didn’t want it. What if someone had shared the love of Jesus with them? What if their minds were changed? What if they fought for this little girl? Would she be in the city right now, receiving treatment? Would she be healed by the family’s confession of faith? Probably . . . These are some of the harsh realities of life as a missionary. You can do what you can, but if a heart is hardened, then it’s hardened. This is why the church must pray and fast for the fields that missionaries work in. . . We need not hard ground, but soft fertile soil to plant seeds of the Word in. This is the one way to produce life in a dry and thirsty land…