Christmas has come early to Madisi this year

Christmas has come early to Madisi this year

Idda danced a little jig while she sang a song about God’s goodness and how God’s grace had saved her. Her face beamed. The words in her song were her own and they just flowed spontaneously and sincerely and joyfully from within her. What was remarkable about her little dance and song is that it was just a few months ago that Idda was paralyzed on one-half of her body and she had completely lost her ability to communicate. Dr. Leena told me that it was most likely encephalitis. I had already lost one young man to this strange illness – it starts with a severe headache, then proceeds to a loss of consciousness and then death.

One of the blessings of having the team of doctors come twice a month to our village for our AIDS clinic is that they come with plenty of experience with all sorts of HIV/AIDS related problems. At their clinic in town they see around 500 people with HIV/AIDS every day. So when they came to Madisi for our clinic, I told them that Idda had encephalitis and every member on the team said, “Ketoconazole.” Now, Ketoconazole is an anti-fungal that we use for the terrible sores and fungus that my friends get – but with nothing much to lose, we gave that medicine to Idda and incredibly enough, within two days, she was able to talk! The last two months have been tough -- three steps forward, two steps back -- but with the love of her grandmother and her sisters, with the medicine, prayers and lots of visits of encouragement, Idda is slowly coming back to us. There is a sparkle in both of her eyes, a smile on both sides of her face and now she can even sway a bit and work on clapping those lovely hands of hers while singing her heart-felt thanks to the Lord.

I rejoice with Idda, but the biggest joy for me is knowing that her 6-year old daughter is going to have a mother. That little girl is not going to be an orphan! And Idda is going to have the joy of raising her daughter. She has already lost her husband and all three of her other children to this virus – but there is real hope now for her and for her daughter!

Witnessing the miracle of a lost life being restored is a beautiful privilege that I wouldn’t trade for anything. I was so happy yesterday to see Idda dancing that I even joined in -- trying to return to her hips the bumps that she gave me! I’m thankful every day of my life here that these lovely friends of mine have invited me into their lives -- to help them within their sufferings, and then sometimes to dance and sing with them in their greatest times of joy. Christmas has come early to Madisi this year.

With love,