Two deaths this week for two families of church members, employees, and friends (and it’s only Thursday). Sunday, the young niece of Acia Nicholas died. Months ago, the mission helped to get her to Mbale where she had a brain tumor removed. And while she recovered from the surgery, she struggled afterward with ongoing illness until she finally succumbed. This morning, we heard that the brother-in-law of Lokeris Simon Peter hung himself from the roof of his hut either yesterday or the day before. He left behind a wife (Lokeris’ sister) and a young child. There are, as always, rumors and stories about the motive, but probably we will never know for sure.
Our pastors went to the burial for Acia’s niece before church on Sunday morning. A steady stream of visitors—coworkers, church members, and friends—went to sit and mourn with them over the next three days. When we found out about the brother-in-law of Lokeris, the burial had already happened, but Al went to the home to comfort the family this morning, and I went and sat with them this afternoon.
These deaths come on the heels of the recent death of the child of one of our long-time employees, who has lost three children and a wife since Chloe and I have been in Karamoja. There have also been several significant marital problems of late within our community, and in the background a long dry spell that has come just as many fields are coming into their harvest. It isn’t hard to see how the Karimojong mind is prone to stoicism and a fatalistic outlook. And yet we know that God loves and cares for his people and longs after their good. In the midst of these trials, our pastors have had many opportunities for counseling and intercession. Our church members have had opportunity to be united with our brothers and sisters in their suffering. We all cry out “how long, oh Lord, will these trials last?” But we do so as people who have a sure and solid hope. As the summer visitors are teaching in the schools this week, we have a great high priest who has felt our weakness and suffering in every way and who is seated at the right hand of God interceding on our behalf.
We know that this is true, but pray with us that it would be manifest in our lives and in the lives of those who even now are mourning.