Lately, my primary ministry focus has been visiting those in the government hospital here in Manzini. Most of my time has been spent in the children’s ward, building relationships with the children there and with their families who stay with them day and night. When I went into the children’s ward for the first time, it was hard to see the children with broken legs and TB and whatever else, but for the most part, they are still children with joyful spirits and accepting hearts. Since I have been visiting, all the children that I met the first day have been healed by God and sent home. However, my first trip to the women’s ward was last week and that was an entirely different experience. While most of the children will get better and get to go home after a brief stay, most of the women will not. As soon as you walk in, there’s a feeling of overwhelming despair that overcomes you. The patients only get visited by a doctor maybe once a week and they are forced into an environment that is not all that conducive to a speedy recovery. The mattresses that the women lay on are falling apart and many of the women appeared and smelled like they had not been bathed in several days. The ward is separated into four different sections and the further into the ward you go, the more contagious the diseases are that the women have. I went immediately to the back where most of the women had AIDS, but were dying of other things, such as TB or even more common diseases. Before I could even get to the back section I was stopped by a woman who had her arm stretched out to me and was calling for help. When we (white people) visit the hospital, we are assumed to be doctors and we are expected to be able to help. After talking to the woman for a while (even though she understood no English) I held her hand until she fell asleep. I continued to the back of the ward, and there I talked to and prayed with 7 or 8 other women. It was soon time to leave the ward, so we headed home for the afternoon exhausted emotionally and broken from the visit. A few days later, I returned to the women’s ward, completely unprepared for what I would see. When I entered the section that I was in a few days earlier, I noticed that half the beds were emptied and no one was living there anymore. Had it been the children’s ward, I would have been happy to see this, but I know that these women did not get better and get sent home. I stayed for a few minutes to pray with the women that were left and then had to leave before I broke down. I have never lost anyone particularly close to me, so this is the first time that death has really touched my life. I wasn’t even that close to any of those women, but somehow I connected to them through prayer and it broke my heart that they were no longer there. I can only pray that they are now in heaven, free from the suffering that they experienced in this world. Because I have been exposed to so much physical suffering during this trip, it has really made me reconsider going back to school for nursing. Pray that God will guide my steps as I make that decision.
Alright, switching gear a little. I know this sounds a little crazy but bear with me. So during our team worship time last night, I was curled up in my sleeping bag outside gazing out onto the city when I came to a rather odd realization. As I was lying there, the railing of the balcony was blocking the view of my right eye. Those of you who know me fairly well already know that my left eye is only really useful for seeing color and light, while my right eye does the rest of the work. So while with my right eye I could have seen the details of the view around me, with my left eye I could only see the blurred lights from far-off houses. I know something more was there, but with my limited vision, I had no idea what it was. Lately, I feel like my view of God has been a lot like that. I can kinda see something, but there’s no definition to what I’m seeing, and I haven’t got a clue what else is there. I want to see God more clearly, but I’m not sure how to do that. The most frustrating part is that I know God won’t open my eyes to His vision in my time, but instead, He’ll do it in His. Pray that I will be open to what God will teach me the rest of the summer, and that I will patiently wait for His perfect timing.
Continue to pray for our team as we are halfway through this summer and we are constantly pursuing God with our ministry.