Laura is a sophomore in college ministering this summer with Christ's Hope International in Kisumu, Kenya. I spent time with the Christ's Hope team in Kisumu on my first trip to Kenya in August of 2006. (Tangentially, Kisumu is the home town of Barak Obama's father.)
Laura shared this story about a very recent occurrence while serving there:
GRACE LIKE RAIN...
Wednesday, June 4th, I was about an hour out of Kisumu when I got a phone call from another volunteer, Desmond, saying I needed to come back immediately... our friend Solomon had a boy in the hospital who was dying, and there was no blood in the hospital. I had the same blood type as he did, and I needed to get back there if there was any chance for him to live.
We began the drive back and I had over an hour for my mind to work over all the questions and worry about the boy and whether or not he'd live... and I just had to remind myself that I'm not God. I couldn't do anything to mess up His plan...whether that was life or death.
Finally we got there and Desmond met us with bad news... they couldn't accept my blood because I'm taking anti-malarial medicine.
I sat there in the car and wept. Solomon came alongside me, weeping for his child... I was his last hope.
We went in to see the boy, and as Solomon picked him up I was stunned at how sick he was... my heart ached, and I was angry... so angry because I HAD the blood. I had the type he needed... I was ready to give him every last drop... and because of malaria medicine, I couldn't save him...
I couldn't save him.
And as we stood there, the boy died right in front of us... in his father's arms.
Everyone crowded around to see and pray while I fought to escape and collapsed on the railing outside...and I didn't even want to stop crying. It hurt so much that all of this had happened... and it hurt so much to see everyone being so strong. I almost felt as though I had to cry for every single person there... every mother with a sick baby or a dying child who wouldn't even shed a tear...I had to weep for their sakes.
As I stood there in that hospital I realized... this is reality. And my heart broke.
But it made me love Kenya with such a deeper love.
Two days later was the little boy's funeral. I knew that after all that had happened I had to be there. For the boy, for Solomon, for myself. But then I started thinking about the jail... Friday is the day for the ministry in the jail. And I just felt such a great urgency to be there. But I kept thinking... what about the funeral? But I had just read in my devotions earlier the day before about Jesus calling the man who asked to be excused to attend to his father's funeral... my business is life, not death.
So I missed the funeral.
I spent the morning preparing. I knew it was right but had no clue what I was supposed to say to them... the guy who usually helps me wouldn't be there, so I was basically on my own. I realized that I needed to talk about grace. So I started writing... and I paused to think about how on earth I'd be able to explain to them the power of Jesus' blood to cover over all of our sins.
And it hit me...
Because my blood was tainted with the malaria medicine... because it wasn't pure... I couldn't save that boy. It hurt so bad that I couldn't save him.
The beauty of it all is that Jesus' blood was so pure... free from any sin or unrighteousness... that He has the power to save all of mankind from an eternal death.
It was absolutely beautiful.
I told that story in the jail that day. I told them how important this message was to me... and I told them about the beauty of grace. We had an unplanned altar call of sorts at the end. I told them that if they were serious about knowing this Jesus... really knowing him... to stay behind because they wanted to, not because their friends were or any other reason.
Twenty-nine kids stayed behind to pray with us. Twenty-nine kids from the jail... from the younger girls to the toughest looking boys. Friends... no matter what the circumstance... God is good.
I knew I had to go to that jail today, and I didn't know why, and I knew God had no obligation to show me any of the reasons why. But he gave me twenty-nine reasons why.