Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Extravagant Love

I was sitting at the clinic with one of the boys and his go-go; and a lady sitting next to the go-go called me over to sit next to her. She told me her story of how she cares for 3 children, 2 of her own and 1 from her late brother. The one little girl belonging to her late brother, is HIV positive and is on ARV’s. The lady says that sometimes she doesn’t have any money or food to feed the children and she wants to know how I can help her. I asked if there is a CarePoint in her area, she said that she didn’t think so. I asked if the school that the child attends has a feeding program, and she said sometimes they feed them, but not all of the time. I took her name and number and told her that I would have to check and see if there were any resources that she could take advantage of in her area. I walked away feeling very helpless and like I was only needed to give money, which is what I knew that she wanted. White face equals money in the minds of many Swazi people. However, if you start just giving out money, it will never end, and it will solve none of their real problems. I felt discouraged, until the Lord showed me that it’s not about me. Jesus loved me so much that He gave His all unselfishly. I need to love Him with total abandon of myself, holding nothing back. Even if it means loving people that don’t love me back and are using me for their own gain. I need to show Christ’s love to them anyway, the way that He showed His love to me. That’s what it is all about. Lavish, extravagant love for Christ! As Mary gave her all by pouring out the expensive oil/perfume on His feet and letting down her hair as if to stand before Him, naked, empty, nothing. She put her reputation on the line, giving all, and in return, He said, “leave her alone, she is mine, she belongs to me”, extravagant love! I am His! I belong to Him! I pray that the Lord will help me to love extravagantly, giving all, abandoning self, holding nothing back.

We are now in the process of getting three of the boys from one of the Care Points started on ARV’s. It is a long process of testing, counseling, testing, and more counseling before actually starting them on the medications needed to help fight HIV. We are transporting these boys from Manzini to Mbabane to a clinic sponsored by Baylor University and Bristol Myers Squibb. There are two American Pediatricians there who are very knowledgeable about HIV/AIDS and the treatment of this horribly rampant disease here in Swaziland. One of these boys is 9 and the other two are 11 years old. “They are just normal little boys,” I think as I watch them draw and color with the paper and crayons that a friend of mine brought to help keep them occupied during this long process that they have to sit through once a week or once every two weeks. You don’t hear them complain that they are bored, or tired, or hungry. They are happy that they are able to draw and color and get attention and be praised for their work. They respond with a huge smile at the praise that is given to them for their work. One of the little boys has only a very sick grandmother (go-go) that he lives with. So he comes to the clinic with no family members. I go in with him to see the doctor, I must find someone to be responsible to give him his drugs that he will need to receive twice daily, at the same times each day. Whoever this person will be, must attend 3 counseling and adherence sessions before he can be started on medication. The goal is to have the family member understand the importance of their responsibility to a make sure that the child receives the medications consistently and that the child receives proper nutrition and care to go along with the medications. It is difficult to get family members to make this kind of commitment. There are three different medications that must be given twice daily, one is a liquid that has to be drawn up and measured accurately, and the other two are pills, one a whole, and one a half given only once daily.

One of the little boys asked his go-go why God created death. He lost his dad a long time ago, and just lost his mom a couple of years ago. He was very close to his mom, as he is the only child. He misses his mom very much, and asks about her often. I asked the go-go how she responded to his question, and she said that she told him the story about the lizard and the chameleon, and she claimed that it came from the Bible. I told her that that was a folk tale that was passed down from her grandmother, and that it was not in the Bible. Then, I went on to explain how sin came into the world with the fall of man, and why Jesus was sent to die in our place, and to overcome death and give us eternal life. I told her that that is what we should tell the boy, instead of the folk tale. I also told her that Jesus will be the boys’ best friend and that He alone can heal the hurt and fill the empty place left by his mothers’ death. Only Jesus can mend the broken heart of this boy, as well as hundreds like him.
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