Monday, November 28, 2005

Bubble Boys

Well, it’s official. I have become an overprotective mother hen. Three of my favorite boys here are HIV positive, and I find myself following them around all the time saying things like, “It’s cold outside. Where are your patter-patters (flip-flops)? You need to be wearing a hat. Why are you coughing?”

I worry about them constantly, most recently evidenced by what I like to refer to as “the chicken pox incident”. All someone had to do was mention that a few of the children at school had chicken pox and the whole of Fairfield Children’s Homes was in a panic, convinced that the boys would catch it. With already-weakened immune systems, it is important that they stay clear of these kinds of outbreaks, so the staff decided to keep them home from school. Julia and I were happy to spend some quality time with the boys while the other children were at school. In fact, it was during this particular week that the miracle happened…

One of the boys had become very sick during the first part of November. I was very upset because it has been over two months since we began the process of starting him on ARV’s (AIDS medication) and the doctor in town still had not given us the pills. He was going downhill and hadn’t been able to go to school for about two weeks. Everyone was worried as we watched his body swell all over, his appetite disappear, and his cough increase. What worried me most was that my usually smiling, talkative little guy had decided to quit speaking completely. We couldn’t get him to say one word for over a week.

On Friday of that week, the staff gathered in his room to pray. He no longer wanted to get out of bed. That night I couldn’t sleep. I was so afraid that something would happen to him. Around three in the morning, I finally decided to call one of my friends, who fortunately challenged me to start reading 3-5 chapters of the Bible every day and see what God had to say about the whole matter. What I found when I blew off the dust from my book was this:

Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid-John 14:27b.

I had been filled with those two things: worry and fear. Since it resonated so well, I decided to read on. In chapter 15, Jesus states that if we remain in him and his words, we can ask for whatever we wish and he will give it to us. I remember distinctly staring at the wall and saying in complete unbelief, “Fine then, heal this child.” I fell sound asleep for the first time in weeks, and woke an hour or so later to a knock at my door. Dragging myself out of bed, I opened the door to find my boy standing there. As I stared in disbelief, he gave me one of those smiles I know him best for, and stepped into my front room. “Can I have a drink? Will you cook me an egg? Can I have some peanut butter?” I had almost forgotten the sound of his voice. I ushered him inside, willing at that point to give him just about anything he asked for.

Over the next week, all of us at Fairfield watched amazed as he continued to improve until yesterday when his “mother” stood and said the words we had been waiting to hear. “Today I sent him to school.” God had heard us. God was faithful in answering us, and every day as our little boy shows up at my door, I am eternally grateful for the extra time God has given us to spend with him in good health.

This Thanksgiving, let this story be a reminder of God’s great love for His children. You are one of them, and the single most important command He gives us is to spread this love to others. John 14-15

Happy Thanksgiving! I am especially thankful to my friends and family members who are a constant reminder to me of God’s unfailing love.

Wenyu Munashe,

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