Three weeks ago I received a call from a Kenyan friend who is a social worker, letting us know of a desperate situation in a slum located on the outskirts of town. She shared some news hard to hear. But because I'm madly in love with Jesus, I feel his heart of compassion and move out of that. I rushed that day to the slum to see for myself. It was worse than anything she could put into words. What to do when you show up in the center of poverty, brokenness and a dying world? You look to Love and let it flow from Him. Words are too deep to speak. I tried to sneak some photos on my phone to give a small glimpse into this reality.
There is no father, who knows if there ever was. The mother died several months ago. She brewed the homemade alcohol in her little section of the slum they lived in. The oldest is 19, abused beyond words. The 19 year old, Esnas, became pregnant over two years ago. While pregnant her mom became ill and a catholic home base care organization started providing medicine for her mom. Esnas was strong and able to be the primary care giver for her mom. Her daughter was born, Blessing. She continued to care for her baby and her mom. Her teenage brothers became rebellious. The two younger sisters and youngest brother became her responsibility as her mom became more ill. The mom passed away this past December. Esnas became ill in January. In April she was hospitalized and lost hope, realizing the same illness that took her mom would soon take her life too. The hospital gave up hope and sent her home. We entered this situation three weeks ago. Love hopes, love never gives up, love restores, love speaks life, love heals, LOVE NEVER FAILS.
We drive up to the area and enter in next to a pile of trash...
We walk into their one room shack. The sister is in a bed in a dark corner. We can hardly see inside but as we stand inside for awhile, our eyes adjust enough to see Esnas small frame lying in bed. She's barely able to communicate with us. She tells the social worker to take her siblings and baby. The baby fears the mom and is more attached her 12 year old aunt. We rescue the two young girls, ages 10 and 12. The next week, the social worker goes to check on the baby and Esnas. She finds the baby outside in the rain, naked, sitting in her own waste, and crying. She calls us and we rush to visit again. We decide the mom is completely incapable of caring for the baby, no relatives around to help, so we take baby Blessing. What a blessing she is. She cries but its raspy and quiet. You can tell she's spent most of her life crying. When we went, I felt the Lord say to bring her food. While there we found out she stopped taking medicine for tuberculosis and other diseases because she had no food to take it with. We pray over her, give her hope, ask God for a miracle, say we'll be back, and leave with Blessing. We take her to Mattaw where house three mom anxiously awaits her. She is thrilled to add a new child to their family. I'll have to share testimony on this soon. In a few short weeks, Blessing is thriving, smiling, and laughing often for the first time.
My heart is still hurting for Esnas. The image of her lying in bed, remembering how it felt as though I prayed over a skeleton when last visiting her. Touching her head and shoulders was heartbreaking. But I felt the peace of Jesus impart to her, and saw that someone not afraid to touch her because of her illness was comforting. What a great love the Father has for Esnas. The next week I kept calling to find out how she was. This past Monday I'm told she is declining and has stopped eating and taking medicine completely. Tuesday we go to pick her up. Here's the door to her room...
Anna and Keela go with me as well. We walk in the room and just feel the heaviness of poverty and sickness in the room. I stand in the corner by Esnas as we try to convince her to let us take her to the hospital. She's lost hope. While trying to figure out what to do, a rat runs through my feet. The stench of death is in this place. We are asking Jesus for His life, love and light to breakthrough. He is faithful. Esnas agrees to go with us, her drunk neighbors scramble for clothes for her while we wait outside.
I pull the car closer while Anna and Keela go to carry her back. In the dark room, you could hardy see how malnourished she is. The sight of Anna walking to the car with her curled up in her arms was shocking. So many men and neighbors around joined in to escort her to the car so I had to discretely snap a picture. Anna said from having experience of carrying sacks of feed, she could tell Esnas is maybe 50-60 pounds.
I try to decide which hospital to take her to. The cheaper one that we can for sure afford but she probably won't receive good care and will be often forgotten about or trust the Lord for provision and take her to a place that she is ensured good care and will have her own bed, not having to share with one or two other people. So we go to the better hospital. We later found out she was at the cheaper hospital in April and a patient she shared a bed with died in the night and wasn't removed from the bed until the next day. Now I know why she didn't want to return to a hospital. We get her checked in and she's able to lay down and rest. She's able to communicate she wants an orange so Anna goes to get her one. She has a difficult time swallowing but can manage to get her teeth into an orange and drink the juice. We're happy to see her willing to do that. We spend some time praying over her and entrust her to Jesus.
The next day we come back to find she was able to eat breakfast. It was more food than she had eaten in weeks. We see some hope restored. We continue to pray and trust Jesus. Yesterday we visit again and find that her fever is now gone. Glory to God. The nurse checking in on her is very kind to her, which is not often found. I feel Holy Spirit say to keep on loving her, so we do. We speak life to her, that Jesus came that she would have life and life abundantly. I tell her not to give up, keep holding on. I squeeze her hand and ask her if she can squeeze mine back. She tries but can't get her hand to do it. I sit awhile just holding her hand and eventually she grabs on and wouldn't let go. Believing we'll go back today to find her still holding on.
We are then referred another little girl in the cheaper hospital. She's two years old, abandoned and severely malnourished. The images of visiting the children's ward was heartbreaking. While there, the social worker I was with told me of a woman in their program who is pregnant, and with her son there, a severly malnourished little boy. She had been waiting on someone to come through for her to pay for medicine for her son. She had been waiting since the day before. So I give around $4 to cover his medicine so that the doctors would agree to continue treating him. The next day his swelling had started to go down. Here is Sharon...
We see the little girl. She was brought in as an emergency case the night before at 6pm and we showed up at 11am the next day to find she was just seeing a doctor for the first time and they were about to give her an iv for the first time. The neighbor caring for her has her own children at home, one of them sick. She wants to abandon the child but we work it out for her to stay a bit longer.
I go home that night and cry. The weight of it all I feel so deeply. Then I'm reminded its not mine to carry. I question it all. Why so much injustice. What can we do? We have so many in our care right now. But I can't say no or turn my head, my love for them is already too much to walk away. So we hand over all the burden of it, for His yoke is easy and burden is light. It's a promise but we must receive it. Hope is restored, the light we carry I'm reminded of, the joy that is our inheritance comes in the morning. I get an email that lifted my head up:
You know, you just love Jesus with all your heart and 'remain in HIm' and 'be with Him where He is ' in your spirit. Dwell on His goodness and continue to release the love and power within to change a dieing suffering flock. There are no words...it is too deep. Love speaks, love touches, love heals, love cares, love transforms, and love is the greatest of all and the power will follow YOU to confirm such love. Keep healing body, soul, and spirit and give praise and thanks today for all He is doing in your midst. Rest sometime today and lie down in His presence my friends. Peace to you both. I love you
This morning I sit on the front porch to have coffee and pop in some worship music. Elisha crawls up in my lap and lets me sing worship songs to him. We sing together a verse that asks God "show me your Glory". Then he chimes into another part of the song that says "oh how we love you". I'm reminded that in that moment, worshipping Jesus with my son in my lap, is just as important as going into one of the darkest places on earth to pull children out of the situation. Staying in the presence of the Lord, worshiping Him, loving on my children, its vital in life.
I know this is getting long. But one more thing to share. I open my bible and "coincidentally" open to this page:
It's about justice. And it's found in Isaiah 61. The chapter Mattaw is from. As stated in on this page I flipped to, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon us to declare vindication. (isaiah 61:2) Vindication means "to clear of accusation, blame, suspicion or doubt with supporting arguments or proof or to the exact revenge for, or avenge." Jesus is stating that Father God had commissioned Him to proclaim divine vengeance. As kings in Christ Jesus (rev. 1:6), God will also release an anointing upon us so that when there has been an injustice, we can call the heavenly court in session- call heaven to be our witness and declare God's vindication."
Then this passage led me to the next place it talks of 'seasons of destiny'. I laughed, seeing it was Ezekiel 37. The verse Holy Spirit continues to show me.
The very verse I was led to yesterday and wept over, asking the Lord to breathe life into Esnas, Sharon, Blessing, and every person He brings to us that is dying. The enemy wants to bring death and destruction, but when we speak God's words, as Ezekiel did, we bring His life-giving breath into dead situations. We are given the tools and guidance to every situation we are brought into, but will we say "yes Lord"? Will we partner with His truths and speak them? Will we let love win and compel us to go, do and speak just as He does?
"Defend the poor and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and needy" Psalm 82:3
(sorry if you can't read the pictures... read Ezekiel 37 and Isaiah 61... )