"Tonight, I believe that God is."

"Tonight, I believe that God is."

“Tonight, I believe that God is.” Those were the words I heard come out of the mouth of Kabonge, a man who is feared in these villages, a man who many visit regularly by so many because of his powers. He is our local witch doctor ...

Tonight we indeed witnessed God orchestrate a miracle, as He caused the lives of many people to intersect at just the right moment. What a joy for me to be here and to see it all come together!

The life in great distress was Felista’s. We had heard about Felista a few months ago when we were at Bibi Cecelia’s, as she told us about the orphan girl she had raised years ago and who had now returned to her. She had come back not with HIV as so many do, but she had come back with an enlarged heart. Felista couldn't breathe, she couldn't walk, she had swollen legs with huge sores and I knew that this young 25-year old women was probably going to die a long, painful death. Bibi Cecilia is now 87 years old and has her hands full with farming and caring for the ten orphan children currently in her care. It would be a big burden for her to care for Felista, as well as Felista's 5-year old son, and yet that dear old woman agreed to help yet one more person. There was always room at Bibi Cecilia's for "one more".

Over the past few months, we have sent Felista here and there for treatment with really no help. We were blessed to have Dr. Leena return recently from Finland who gives us direction and connections in such situations. After Felista came down with pneumonia, Dr. Leena thought that she needed to be admitted at Kibao Hospital for better care. So she was sent on our bus with a note for our friends, the dear Catholic sisters. Bibi Cecilia's house is about an hour's drive from ours, which made it hard for us to follow up on all of the details of things and so it wasn't until much later that we learned that no one went with Felista to Kibao Hospital on that bus. The way it works here is that there always has to be someone to accompany the sick and to serve as their helper when they are at a hospital. The first I learned that something was seriously wrong was when the sisters called me to say that Felista was alone. They agreed to care for her that night, but they needed us to find someone fast to go to the hospital and to be there for Felista. And we tried. But it's so far, and although we had different promises, in the end no one went. And so after three days in the hospital, Felista was sent back to me. I was heart-broken.

Abeli would bring Felista back on our bus and the plan was for someone to meet the bus in the village of Luhunga, take care of Felista for the night, and then tomorrow we would drive her back to Bibi Cecilia's house. But my multiple phone messages never got to the person who was supposed to meet her. And so when Abeli got to Luhunga, they helped Felista off the bus. They asked around and there was no one there to meet Felista, and she broke down right there and began weeping. Abeli called us on the phone and asked us what he should and I told him to "bring her home to us" and to tell her that we would take care of her. What none of us knew is that Kabonge's wife was on the bus that day. Now Getruda is one tough, hard woman, hardly with a reputation in the village here for being the one who would reach out to a weepy woman. And yet something prompted Getruda to get out of the bus and to go to Felista and to ask her what her name was. Well when Felista answered that her name was Felista Kabonge, one question led to another. When it turned out that they discovered together that Felista is Getruda’s husband’s long lost grand-niece, Getruda was beyond excited. The bus dropped Getruda off at her house and then continued up the hill to our home.

It was nearly dark, but we got Felista moved into our vehicle and she began telling me the story of how she had met Getruda who had been on the bus with her. I thought in my mind that I would follow up tomorrow on this ‘family connection’, but as we passed the Kabonge compound, Getruda ran out to stop us. The whole Kabonge clan in fact came out to meet us and to welcome into their home the daughter that they had never met. She wasn’t seen as a burden! Felista was family! The wonderful missing ingredient in Felista’s life which we couldn’t possibly ever buy for her was having her own family. And there it was – right in my own backyard – love and belonging. Felista is with the family who she had never met. And that is when Kabonge said, “Tonight, I believe that God is. Thank you so much for bringing my brother’s grand daughter to me.” We could never have planned this, not in a million years. But yet the God who is, He certainly can plan anything He wants!

And as if that weren't enough, tomorrow Dr Leena is bringing a group of cardiologists from Europe (I think four!) to my home for coffee and to do a "heart clinic" in my living room for people in our villages who have heart problems. Felista can't walk on her own to come, so wonder of all wonders, we will all then go to visit Felista there at Kabonge's house. At her house now.

My thanks to those of you who continue to pray for miracles for us here,