Like the sister of a friend, who stepped into her bathroom into a puddle of water where a live wire was exposed and she was electrocuted and died. She left many many small children. Or the baby of another friend that just died. Or the man walking home at night who was hit and left to die on the side of the road. Or the baby at the orphanage that I held and knew that she would die and there was nothing I could do. Or the baby with hydrocephalus that I tried to do what I could, and she still died. Or the young girl that died after a surgery to remove her appendix. Or the little boys removed from their mother because their father had just died and they now belonged to the father's family. Or the man who was murdered and shot down because of a political agenda he had no control over. Or the two small children who were in a vehicle at the wrong time on the wrong road and were shot "accidently" by bullets meant for someone else. The only two children of a woman who had already lost her husband. Or the small coffin carried by mourners on a dusty village road. Or the baby I never met named Amiable who came to the orphanage to live, but came too late. Or the house that was swept away during a mudslide killing a pregnant mother. Or the countless mothers who die giving birth to their babies. Babies we are trying to help. Or the woman who is raped over and over, who loses her mind, is rejected by her family, who in turn rejects her babies. Or the men and women who are disabled, who struggle to live a life with dignity as they crawl on hands and knees through roads filled with mud and dirt. I could go on and on and I wouldn't scratch the surface.
My heart has been broken and it will not mend. I have been trying to go to church. I try to listen to God's voice, to read His words. My heart will not mend. I sit in church and my broken heart bleeds, and I can't hear the words spoken around me. The music is soft and I can't hear it over the roar of my soul. My doubt and struggles swirl within me. And my heart, it won't mend.
But about a month ago, for reasons that are too long to go into in this post (maybe one day I will share them), we went to a new church. It is a baptist church with a predominately african american congregation. Every single service I cry. I cry through the music, I cry through the prayer, I cry through the sermons. My heart is touched. We are out of place but somehow we fit perfectly. Somehow, in the most unlikely of places, I find a glimmer of hope. I hear the music, I hear the sermons, I hear the spontaneous song and praise of the church members. Somehow, in an instant, I understand why in Congo, the church services are long, loud, spontaneous, full of music, full of praise, full of spoken encouragement. Full of community and support. Because how else can you survive? How else, but to be reminded of hope, to know you are not alone, to believe that God is good and loving, faithful and kind? It is survival, to keep going day after day. To touch another hand, to sing loudly and long, to lift your hands, to fall down on your knees because of the grief you cannot bear another day. To give thanks to the One who gives you strength for one more day. To let it come. How else in the dark times can you keep going forward. Only because you are not alone. Because there are others that hold your hands in the dark, to remind you of the One who never lets you go, to give you hope.
Nyota, fully sponsored. At Tumaini, we support an orphanage called Save the Children. We do this through sponsorships of the children that live there. We are trying to keep the children alive and healthy (both physically and emotionally), by providing formula, milk and additional staffing so the babies are held often and the older children are played with on a regular basis. Our goal is to reunite the children with their families. Please consider sponsoring one of the remaining five babies who are waiting. Our website is here, www.tumainidrc.org.