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Mbeiza is Home.

Mbezia died this morning.

We found out just as we neared the hospital for Caleb’s surgery. Pretty much everything we feared might happen, did.  In the capital city for this past month she had far less visitors, the wound care promised fell short (to be very gracious) and she died in excruciating pain.  Apparently yesterday evening she developed severe chest pain but the doctor refused to come,  the nurses wouldn’t act without the doctors’ guidance, and she died just as the surgical interns arrived at 8am.

It’s interesting because watching Mbezia fight these past months I have often chewed on what the definition of a true warrior is.  Coming from a military background I’ve picture guys who jump from planes, kick in doors and shoot evil in the face.  Mbezia and my mom have shown me that definition is lacking.  If ever there has been a little person to go down standing tall….it was her.

Our first conversation consisted of me trying to convince Mbezia, after 3 1/2 years of suffering with undiagnosed lupus, there was hope for healing.  She then proceeded to spend the next 8 months teaching me I was right…and wrong.  Right with the Truth, wrong with the earthly appearance it would take.

Missions, it seems, is often incorrectly thought of as the tip of the spear in the fight to push back the darkness.  It’s incorrect because what matters is how Christ manifests in us, not the location.  Mbezia chose to do it from a hospital bed, with bandages instead of skin covering her.  This past week I was reading a sermon on prayer and Tim Keller mentioned that the ironic thing about the book of Job is the devil was right.  Not necessary with Job, but most the rest of us.  Most of us look to the Lord with expectations and when they aren’t met, it changes the relationship.  Mbezia’s broken body and fearless heart looked to the Lord with a very simple expectation and it never wavered.   She believed in the simple Gospel.

Christ lived and died, so we by faith, might die and live.  It is not complicated.  May we live and die as courageously as our little teacher.

Thank you for loving and praying for her.

Tomorrow our family will travel to her village to attend a celebration of her life.  We have often told her family of the army of prayer warriors who have walked beside her thru this suffering.  Thank you, Church, for surrounding her and allowing God to move your hearts.
Looking forward to the Resurrection,

dave for the tribe

Evie and Her Captain.

I sit beside Evie on this couch and will myself to be brave. The oxygen tube up her nose and monitor on her finger are too much for this momma’s heart. Just two nights ago, I sat on Ella’s bed praying over her—praying for her lungs to heal—for God to be her breath.

I sit here rubbing her back and ask what Bible story she’d like. She quietly says, “The one when Jesus walks on water.” I swallow and breathe in another prayer. Why do my children always teach me? Why do they always remember the things I so quickly forget?

I begin reading and am captivated by these words I’ve read a thousand times during a thousand bedtime routines…

“Did you forget? Are you listening to your fears above me?”

How quickly I forget his grace. His goodness. That really, truly it is all a gift. A miracle. That each day, each and every breath he allows, is purely a grace.

I watch as Selah kisses Evie goodnight and tells her she loves her…I wrap blankets up around her neck and kiss her too. “Mama, shouldn’t we pray for Evie and Mbezia?” Her sweet little voice cracks…she too is trying to be brave. I pray over it all. She whispers, “Mama, I don’t want Evie to die…”

“Remember, Selah. Remember,” I whisper, “Who is in control of this storm?”
Jesus.” She whispers back.

“Yes.” My voice catches in my throat as we both cry– really with the same questions.

We send out a request for our friends to join us in prayer, and I silently beg God not to even allow my worst fears to enter into my thoughts. I pray to have the mind of Christ. TO see Him and hear Him and trust Him in this storm.

Over the next hour, Evie brightens…her spirit strengthens. She is giggling, and asking for food and her oxygen levels are rising. And as the storm calms in her lungs, so it does in my heart. I praise Him.

These winds and waves come, and will continue, but He commands it all.

And then, in the dark, with my little girl asleep next to me…my thoughts go to Mbezia and her family…how they’ve been able to trust you, even when their eyes don’t see the results, the healing, or the restoration. They’ve chosen over and over to rely on the Lord’s goodness, rather than the physical answers. They’ve hoped, not in numbers. They’ve waded through deep waters without a promise of healing or absence of pain.

Her cries echo through the cement walls of the clinic, and through our hearts, as she receives yet another dressing change. She is choosing to fight. This little warrior, knows the strength of her Savior as the waves continue to thrust themselves over her.

And then, the next morning, Evie’s storm worsens too…her lungs are sick and she can’t get enough oxygen. We admit her at a hospital in town and continue to ask God for healing. Not just healing, but for God to show Himself to her in the midst of this trial. And HE desired to walk out onto her waves and be the peace for her.

In the middle of the night, her storm intensified. Her oxygen was too low and her Daddy-doctor fought and prayed to get her enough air. She woke up at one point around midnight in the dark—she looked up on the wall in her hospital room and could see a painting. She saw the SUN rising. All light. She saw the layers of light in the sunrise and reflected in the water. God spoke to her spirit, reminded her that HE was with her. IN her. That the Father, Son, and Spirit were there and ALL LIGHT. There was no darkness.

As she shared that with me the next morning, I could only agree and humbly thank God that He did in fact meet my little girl in those moments when the wind and waves wanted to wash out any remembrance of His presence.

And then God spoke, “I will take you from strength to strength.” Moments later we were transporting our little girl by ambulance to a bigger hospital in the capital city.  The siren blared, Evie was vomitting, I was trying to call my parents in the US and it felt like too much.

I never imagined that my first ride in an ambulance would be with my daughter.

I never imagined that it would be in Africa. I guess you never can imagine these moments.  BUT HIS GRACE was sufficient in every single moment.

I wanted to walk as a warrior, not given over to worry. I chose not to listen to the fears that wanted to yell in my heart.   Face down, I begged God to be God.

We want to know without a doubt in the midst of the waves that Someone is holding our boat. We want to know that our children will be healthy and free from pain. But really what we need is to know HIM. I wanted to encounter Him walking on my waves, in my storm. And I did.

 As we lay in a hospital room in Kampala, with our precious little one battling a severe pneumonia, I was simultaneously, burdened for the families grieving the loss of their loved ones in Vegas. In the aftermath of the shooting, confusion, hopelessness and tragedy broke out. Often the storms come without warning; swift, strong and devastating. And then the wind blew my prayers to precious Mbezia, certain that her family would never have imagined their little girl would lie with pain and such suffering…a disease eating away her skin. And then I remembered that yes, even in this—HE was enough. He was the one commanding the waves.

We stayed in that hospital for days, patiently surrendered and hopeful for our girls’ healing. And His nearness was our good.

A few days later we were leaving the hospital with Evie attached to an IV and an oxygen tube and my heart felt faint. Were we doing the right thing? Evie lay on the couch later that night, oxygen tube taped to her face…our living room turned clinic, and Daddy turned Doctor once again. My heart cried out and I chose to rest in my Captain and not my fears. He spoke out, “PEACE. Shalom.” Be still, Soul. Rest.

After few more days, but we saw her healing. We thanked Jesus for the moments, then hours off of oxygen. I was humbled by the ways God intersected so many lives and tragedies and places where He was moving in the midst of pain, and in the midst of our deep need. He drew us to His heart and moved us to pray. I was humbled that He met my little girl, and me, and my whole family with His mercy. In our hearts, he spoke a new kind of storm—one of relentless love. It is one that sings over and through all those waves and his Shalom washes over my soul.

 

 

 

 

 

Release

Today, we beg God to part the waters, as He has faithfully done so many times before.  We ask Him to make a way for His own to receive the love and care they need.  We ask that God would stir the hearts of the authorities, and give our Vessel release.  We want to believe and ENCOUNTER our Gracious, Mighty, Miracle-working God today.  Please pray with us!

Ask of me,

and I will make the nations your heritage,

and the ends of the earth your possession. Psalms 2:8

………

Salvation belongs to the LORD;

your blessing be on your people!  Ps. 3:8

……….

The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.

And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you…

ARISE OH LORD, LET NOT MAN PREVAIL! Ps. 9:10,19

Mbezia & The Boat (an update from Dave)

~A post from Dave~

 

Life can be difficult. Sometimes the enemy comes like a flood.

But then is the time to prove our faith and live our songs.  

Amy Carmichael

(This is Mbezia, a 14 year old girl that Dave met a few months ago in the malnutrition ward of the government hospital here.  Her diagnosis is Lupus,  but has been undiagnosed and suffering over the past 3 years….We have entered into the fight with her. Here’s Dave’s latest prayer update about her.  She is truly a warrior.)

Mbezia is suffering but fighting with a joy that this world can’t understand.   Today I had the privilege of laying out His eternal truth and watching a few realities sink beneath the skin that no longer remains.  Parts of her body are literally dying before her eyes (5th digit has gangrene) but Mbezia knows she is a treasure, that this disease isn’t a punishment, and Hope is a person.   A person who loves her so deeply He choose death so He could reach into it and offer Life.   I’m not one to press for a decision, but I do believe she understands and has made hers.  Please pray as we continue to stand with her, specifically for her skin, liver, and kidneys to recover and that she remains relatively pain free with the help of lots of medications.

Islands of Hope Ministry Boat Update:

The boat leaves Mombassa TODAY (Tuesday 19th)…..Pray for safe journey and warrior angels to protect it.  Below is where we will moor it (FYI the boat will get placed on top of another trailer like a tractor would be).  Please pray with us about the tax issues as we bring this boat into Uganda!  We are appealing the Tax Commissioner for a special exception but if the answer is no there aren’t other options.  My priority is remaining above reproach and now that I have seen the specific laws I have peace either way.  He isn’t nervous.  Thank you for praying with us!

sola gratia

Mbezia.

Her eyes overflow with pain and tears, and so does my heart.   Yet she smiles.

How could a little one endure such suffering? And in the midst of it be speaking out in gratitude, and showing us love, and teaching my heart deep things about God?   And how does one know how to suffer and say thank you, except for the extravagant grace of God?

How could we –as those watching the suffering—feel such an intensity and depth of pain?

Sometimes another’s pain becomes our own.

We choose to embrace it, to take it on and in…to let it grieve us to our core. Sometimes another’s pain feels personal.

Sometimes we don’t know what to do with the pain of another—even when we KNOW that it is worse than our own…

Her eyes, now yellow. Her fingers, now rotting. Her heart is failing. Her liver is failing. But her Hope remains.

We want to save her.  To rescue and heal.  To change what we see.  To HOPE and keep fighting for her.

We want to ignore. To distract. To avoid. We walk away from her bedside in silent grief.

But then He calls us in. Into the place of suffering. Of compassion. Of crying out and interceding. He calls us closer to His own heart. For He suffered. He suffered for Mbezia. He knows her pain intimately, deeply—as His own. He weeps for her. Tears washing her wounds, her pain and her need. There is a hope unseen, as strong and as real as this pain. There is a promise of healing. There is a light of redemption. Someday, she will be whole. Someday, her body will be new. There is a light in her eyes. A radiance in her smile. She must SEE Him. She must know his presence because as He said, He is with us in the suffering. He has met her there. He holds her there. And she looks up into her Father’s eyes and smiles.

And that smile will one day shine in all the glory that she was created for.

O u r   P a g e s
C a t e g o r i e s