Living in Karamoja continually reminds me how fragile and miraculous human life is. Whereas, in America we attend funerals without ever having seen the dead body, Karimojong are present or participate in digging the grave and preparing the body for burial. In America, we tend to give each other space to mourn in private. Conversely, in Karamoja the friends and family of the bereaved spend the following three (for a boy) or four (for a girl) days staying, sleeping and eating with them. These are various ways our cultures have learned to cope with the reality that life ends. However, it can only end after it has begun.
A few weeks ago, a friend and neighbor of the mission, Nangiro Michael, lost his four year-old daughter to a cobra bite. The child was bitten while out in the field carrying her younger brother on her back. In the following week, family and friends descended on the home mourning with the couple at the grievous loss of their child. Although I cannot hope to understand the pain that they are feeling, I was pleased to see the local Christian community enshrouding them with love and care. Many of the church members spent the night at the family’s home helping protect the mother from harming herself (a common expression of grief in Karamoja), making food for the visitors and taking care of the younger brother. Other members also came to visit and encourage them. It was beautiful to see the local Christians personify Christ’s love in a uniquely Karimojong way. The depth of the loss made it bittersweet to see the couple at church this past week, the first time together since before we arrived in Karamoja. May the Lord give them peace.
In other news, many of you have heard that Bob Wright, the Diaconal Missionary Christopher works under, was in a car accident. His truck rolled down the side of an embankment when he pulled over to avoid colliding with a vehicle passing in his lane. The vehicle was a van taxi that simply lost control as it was passing another vehicle. Bob ended up-side-down in the river. Thankfully, although many of the supplies he was carrying were stolen and the truck was a bit battered, Bob walked away unscathed. Praise the Lord for His sovereign protection.
On another note, one of our employees had a baby this week: Lotee Meri (they’re still looking for a Christian name)! Lokwii David, the father, has been a presence on the mission since boyhood. The missionaries have witnessed his struggles, his marriage, and the birth of three children. May the Lord bless him and his wife with an irresistible desire to raise their children in the faith.
I am thankful that we can trust in the perfect timing of Christ.