Many from our mission have gone and sat with Michael and Martha this week, including Chloe and I this afternoon. Michael has also had some sickness and both of them are very weak from going without food (lack of appetite). But, by God’s grace, both have been prevented from harming themselves and Michael expressed an acceptance of God’s mysterious ways, saying that he would accept if it was God’s will that he and his wife should live without children. One further trial is that with all the trouble they have had recently, it is being whispered that they are under some sort of curse. This is cause for many to fear to visit them. Pastor Dave gave a wonderful exhortation to the congregation today not to fear because God is in sovereign control of all things. Please continue to pray for their health and strength and that they would seek refuge in the person and work of Christ.
Below is part of an email that went out from our doctor Jim Knox. It gives a few more details on the situation:
A while ago I related the story of how Martha and Michael had a child die from a snakebite near the clinic. Last week Martha’s mother died pretty quickly from multiple infections that occurred at the same time (brucellosis, amoebiasis, giardiasis, hepatitis B, UTI, etc.). Yesterday morning, they came in to the clinic with their only remaining child (they have had several miscarriages as well). Awas Emmanuel was about six months old. He came in with diarrhoea, vomiting, and fast breathing. On examination I found that he had a pneumonia and was dehydrated. His malaria and stool tests were negative. He took the ORS (oral rehydration solution) very well, so we did not keep him in the clinic. We started him on antibiotics and let him go home with pretty specific instructions about how to take the ORS.
Yesterday afternoon I was taking a little break from the work and doing some weeding. I received a call from the nurse on call that there was an emergency, that the little boy was back having seizures. I ran home and drove over to the clinic. I walked directly into my office to get the anit-seizure medicine. The nurses were trying to get an IV started, but they were unable to get it. By the time I walked into my office, picked up the medicine, and walked to the child, he was dead. We tried chest compressions and ventilating him, but we are just not well equipped for such things. I don’t know how to explain the grief reactions. To be with the parents and the friends as they wail, as they deny that the child is dead, as they ask “Why, God? This is two [children]” To see the motions of utter devastation. All of the clinic staff were around, crying.
I called Pastor Al to come over (even though I could hardly be understood on the phone). We were able to drive our two cars out to the village to get the family and the body home. Pastor Al prayed before we left over so much wailing and shouting. The entire drive (of at least 30 minutes or more, but I have no concept of the time) was filled with crying, especially by the father. How strange it was to keep hearing them talk about “Emmanuel” amidst all of the Karimajong language that I did not understand.
In case with all the wonders of modern medicine and clean water and government development we had forgotten that Karamoja is a very difficult place—indeed that the sin-cursed world is a very difficult place—we received word tonight that the young son of our friends, Nangiro Michael and his wife Martha, has died very suddenly from sickness. If this wasn’t enough, Martha’s mother died on Sunday and their four-year-old daughter (their only other child) little over a month ago from a cobra bite.
Michael and his wife have been frequent attenders of prayers of late, and he has expressed a curiosity and interest in the things of the Christian faith for some time. Please pray that they would be comforted who mourn. Pray that God would remove his heavy hand from their family, that he would be merciful to them and draw them into his eternal kingdom through his Spirit. Pray that the church in Nakaale would be used to encourage them and to show the love of Christ to them through their presence and ministry. Pray for the Mission as we seek to solace them in this terrible adversity.
Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.