All she brought with her were the clothes on her back, a few personal items, and a pet monkey--you know, the essentials. Gratefully, a few family members tagged along as well, otherwise it may have seemed like too much for her. After all she was practically a kid herself at sixteen years old.
Arriving at the |ndigenous Seminary site after a long day and a half on the river, she was met by staring eyes and whispers in languages she could not understand. They led her to the tiny room where she would sleep along with ten other people--and give birth to her first child.
When Richard met her, she had been there for a couple of days and it was very evident that she would be going into labor at any moment. He asked Lolo, one of the local pastors and a good friend, what her story was. Lolo explained that he had met her on his trip downriver to the Seminary just a few days prior. They lived just off the river, but far away from any medical facilities should something go wrong. It made sense to bring her to the Seminary where they were closer to civilization, especially since this was her first baby. The family agreed and they made the journey, a little apprehensive since they would be the only ones from their tribe there.
As expected, just two days after Richard arrived, she went into labor. Initially the baby was breech so there was concern, but there was a midwife there who was able to turn the baby and the delivery went smoothly.
When Richard asked if there was anything she needed, the answer was, "Everything."
Let's take a moment to imagine what must have been going on in this girl's mind:
She is in a place she has never been with people she has never met surrounded by languages she does not speak about to give birth to a baby for the very first time in a small "box" of a room and she has absolutely nothing for this baby except some used towels that were cleaned in river water and dried by the sun. It is hot and humid. Bugs are biting.
Personally, I cannot imagine what she was feeling. Some would say, "She is used to the heat and humidity and bugs and pain." I would argue, "They do not get used to it. They just learn to deal with it."
I had Raegan here in Brazil just a couple of months ago and I thought that was hard.
I am a wimp, people. This girl is a beast! And she could be my little sister!
After finding out her needs, Richard went to town and was able to purchase the basics: a blanket, diapers, wipes, vitamins, shampoo, and a few outfits. The total cost? About $120.
Most of us spend much more than that on baby clothing alone! This will likely be all that she has for a long time. In fact, she was reusing the disposable diapers by removing the cotton lining and using the outer plastic. I didn't even know that could be done....
This is just a glimpse into normal life for the |ndians. Two days later, this girl was down by the river washing clothes. There is no time to take it easy when you are basically surviving from one day to the next.
So what does this mean for us? How should this affect us as Believers? What can we do?
Those are the questions we asked and this is what we came up with:
We cannot take away the humidity and bugs. We cannot provide a comfortable, relaxing environment for all |ndians to give birth. We cannot insure that they will all have a midwife standing by in case something goes wrong.
But we can show as many as possible the love of Christ with our resources and prayers.
We are praying over starting a ministry for "Stork Baskets". These would be baskets filled with some of the "essentials" for a new baby and Mama:
-vitamins for Mama
-a small water purifier for Mama
-a snot-sucker (you know what I'm talking about... I don't know the technical name!)
-etc., etc., etc.
The cost would be about $120.
Some of the items will be more practical to purchase in country, others could be donated.
Shower these women with the love of Christ by helping meet some of their basic needs.
This may not seem like a big deal to some, but for these women to see that complete and total strangers love them enough to give sacrificially on their behalf--it speaks VOLUMES. And what's more, it opens the door to sharing the motivation for our giving: the Love of Christ.
Will you pray over this with us?
Will you share this with your Sunday School class and your Women's Ministry?
Let's pretend these are our babies being born, and love them accordingly.
"For it was You who created my inward parts; You knit me together in my mother's womb. I will praise You because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, and I know this very well."
Indian girl who gave birth to a precious baby girl at the Seminary. Her husband is to the right.