Today during our celebration at church, as I was preparing my heart and mind to receive Jesus in the Eucharist, my eyes welled up with tears. Unsure why I was crying, I quickly wiped them away and returned to prayer. The little drips turned into a steady stream and before I knew it the flood gates had opened. I was sobbing and struggled to maintain my composure. The lady behind me started rubbing my back and asked if I was alright. I wasn’t sure how to respond because the onset of this breakdown was so sudden. All I could do was smile and nod. After receiving communion I was completely overwhelmed with emotion and could do nothing more than remain kneeling with my head buried in my hands. “What is wrong?” I kept asking myself. As I left the church my mind raced as I sobbed and sobbed.
I realized that sometimes I just can’t handle it: the frequency of death, the abusive relationships, the prostitution and drug abuse, the neglected and abandoned kids.
Yesterday we visited the home of one of our Lost Sheep and discovered that he lives in a brothel. His dad died when he was four years old, so his mom works to provide for the family. Since she is often unavailable, there is a homosexual transvestite that stays in one of the rooms who prepares their meals, launders their clothes, and cares for his 5-year-old sister. Although the long conversation that we had with the mom gave us tremendous insight into our Lost Sheep’s troubles, this situation has been weighing heavy on my heart.
A couple days ago I was walking to my neighbor’s house to buy eggs and I passed a woman that had been beaten severely. Her eye was all but swollen shut, her face was various shades of purple, and her neck was visibly wounded. When we made eye contact she immediately dropped her head and scurried away. I wanted to help, but how?
A woman arrived at our home earlier today wanting to talk because she’s struggling and doesn’t know what to do. Her 40-year-old husband has severe Parkinson’s disease and is losing the ability to work. Her brother’s 33-year-old wife is dying of kidney cancer and our visitor is her primary caretaker. Without any other family in the area, she knows that it’s only a matter of weeks before her own 4 kids will need to make room in their tiny little house for her brother’s 4 kids, one of whom is only 3 years old.
Last week one of our Lost Sheep came to us asking if we could possibly buy his family a cook top and gas. Theirs broke several weeks ago and his mom has been trying to prepare meals over a fire, which is incredibly difficult during the rainy season when everything is wet and muddy. When I arrived at their home, I discovered that none of the children had gone to school that day because their hunger pains were so severe that they couldn’t walk.
Earlier this week there was a knock on our door at 2:15 AM. A pregnant friend, who was 37 weeks along, had lost a significant amount of amniotic fluid but wasn’t in labor. The medical technicians in our clinic told her that her baby would likely die if she couldn’t get to the hospital immediately. This woman doesn’t own any means of transportation, she had no money for a taxi, and there weren’t any ambulances available. Although the folks at the clinic felt bad for her, there wasn’t much they could do. So, I rushed Wendy to the closest hospital and made sure that she got the care she needed. Praise God, she delivered a healthy little boy.
I could fill pages with similar accounts of what has transpired just within the last couple weeks, but I don’t suppose it’s necessary. I simply write all this to say (yet again) that your prayers are SO important. We are engaged in an intense spiritual battle and need all the help we can get. Please pray for our safety, our ability to discern the spirits, and our perseverance and fortitude as we keep our eyes fixed on the cross. Please also pray for our emotional well-being as we work hard to maintain a healthy balance in this life of missions. Lastly, please continue to pray for all those that the Lord has called us here to serve, that by experiencing Jesus’ love they will be forever transformed. Thank you and God bless!