Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Meet Virginia (and Kevin and Beatrice)

Virginia held a special place in my heart even before this trip began.  I heard her story while I was having coffee with Rhonda back in October.  Rhonda met Virginia on her trip two summers ago.  When she first met Virginia, she was making brew in her home in the slum and spent most of her days drunk (When I say "brew" I'm talking about a very unnatural drink, not beer - It was dark and murky looking, made in a large pot with pieces of burlap and other unknown objects floating in it).  She came to know Christ while Rhonda and Brenda were visiting and reading her Bible to her.  Her two youngest children were very sick and they ended up taking them to the clinic.   Kevin was a year old and weighed 11 pounds. They were not expecting him to make it because he was dying from malnourishment.  Beatrice was 4 and had pneumonia.

I was excited to meet Virginia because I'd heard of the transformation in her life and I wanted to see it.  We went into Virginia's home trying to fit everyone in so no one would miss hearing her story.  We heard the story of Rhonda and Brenda's visit two years ago and the impact knowing that God loves her.  She told us how she felt that day before giving her life to Christ.  She was sad.  Empty.  She didn't know how she could take care of her kids and she didn't want to.  She told us that she hoped baby Kevin would die so she could continue to make brew and not worry about him.

But all that changed that day in that same home two years ago.  She gave her life to Christ and was transformed.  She now tries her hardest to care for the children that still live with her.  She washes their clothes, she cleans their home, she feeds them, and she tries to provide for them the best she knows how. She spends time telling others how God has changed her life and she's truly a light in Mururui to those in darkness.  We met so many people and when we asked them how they started going to church, their answer was simple...Virginia.  While her life is still not simple, and while she still struggles, baby Kevin is alive and healthy and happy. He's got one of the sweetest giggles and loves having his picture taken.  

(Kevin - alive, healthy, happy)

(Beatrice and Rhonda)

Beatrice is now 6 and when we got there, she was sick again.  Rhonda reached over to me and said, "This little girl had a fever when I was here two years ago and she has a fever now."  I could see the pain in her eyes.  She had a runny nose and a cough.  As we prayed over Beatrice in her older sister's home, it occurred to me that this child was sick and it became reality that even something as simple as a cough could be deadly.  My heart sank in my chest as I watched her and realized how hard it must be to not feel well in such circumstances.  Rhonda and some others took Beatrice to the clinic, and it turns out she has tuberculosis.  She was able to get treatment at the clinic (while not easy, it's possible).  She'll have to continue with the treatments and take her medicine.  Several days later, she seemed to be doing so much better.  She was smiling and laughing and skipping rope.  I know that God has huge plans for Beatrice and Kevin.  Just look at those smiles.

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