Pastor Jim posts this story for us today.
This is Pastor Jim again. Yesterday was really the highlight of the trip so far. We participated in a wonderful event of dedication in the settlement at Nakiavali. This settlement is populated by about 45,000 refugees; most of them coming from Congo and more recently from Rwanda. Although this settlement is more than 50 years old, Medical Teams International has brought a level of health care to these people that is well worth celebrating. I know that God does continually.
The dedication yesterday was for a new maternity ward. The highlight of the celebration was a drama prepared and acted out by the nurses. They acted out the changes that this new facility has accomplished. In years previous, the midwife at the clinic had one birthing station and if a second mother came in labor she was often sent away to give birth in surroundings that would put herself and her child at risk. Furthermore, if a mother brought a sick new born back to the clinic for care the midwives are so taxed by the 10 or 12 births in an average week, there was often no time to extend assistance to emergent situations in the lives of these infants.
Today, in the new ward, there is space. Numerous mothers in active labor can be cared for simultaneously, and when they have given birth, there is even more space to let them lie down and get their strength back before returning home.
It is a holy work that is humbling to watch. In the 24 hours previous to the dedication ceremony three healthy children came into the world in that ward—one of them while the ceremony was being conducted just outside the front door.
On Monday, we saw the mothers gathered at the clinic receiving pre-natal care. We also saw many mothers with babies strapped to their backs. These children are the picture of health—fat cheeks and bright eyes. It struck me (and I said this at the ceremony) that, for a community racked by violence and destruction, there is no more fitting act of defiance imaginable than women bringing healthy babies into the world. Life is a blessing of God’s grace and MTI is a resource makes that life joyous, healthy and victorious. It inspires me.
God is so good.