Two days ago James said, “Mom, Ebola has broken out in western Uganda.” I said a quick prayer for the country that I love and moved on without having that news grip my heart in the way that it should have.
This morning a friend sent me a link to a story that put faces and names with this horrid disease. As we prepare for a season of massive consumption, there are people who are called to a season of massive compassion.
A doctor who was working with World Harvest Mission named Jonah Kule died last week as a result of this Ebola outbreak. He was the father of 5 children and leaves a pregnant widow named Melen.
Jonah was the dear friend of a medical missionary couple named Scott and Jennifer Myhre who are still serving in the Bundibugyo District.
This couple has been serving as medical missionaries to the poorest of poor for 14 years and now find themselves in the epicenter of a devestating outbreak.
This dedicated couple are keeping track of the story as it unfolds at the blog site http://www.paradoxuganda.blogspot.com/paradoxuganda
It is heart wrenching to see this story through the eyes of those who are living it. These are Jennifer’s words following the funeral of Jonah.
In the midst of chaos I am longing for a small spot of order . . . So have taken to organizing bookshelves whenever I have a couple of hours at home (I’m sure there are decent and deep psychiatric reasons, but it is a pretty useful coping mechanism, and probably a good sign to have the energy to begin to do so). Hardly anyone dares to come to our house anymore. As contacts we are supposed to practice “social distancing” . . . A bizarre and unexpected opportunity to pull hundreds of books and years of dust and pen caps and random scraps of paper and broken flash lights and all the other detritus of life that accumulates on any horizontal surface from the bookshelves (we have many).
In the process this morning I came across a book by Michael Card called “A Sacred Sorrow: Reaching out to God in the Lost Language of Lament.” Ruth Ann Batstone gave it to me a few months ago but I had not opened it yet. He opens the first chapter: “Before there were drops of rain, human tears fell in the garden, and that was when lament began.” His premise is that the Bible is full of the songs of complaint, frustration, sorrow, even anger; because the path to God is a “tearful trail.”
When I step back from the science, the advocacy, the planning, the medicine . . . I am left with the hollow-hearted shock that Jonah has died, and that more will follow. And I am not here to justify or explain that, rather to acknowledge and experience it. So I want to copy here a paragraph from this book’s forward by Eugene Peterson:
It is also necessary as a witness, a Jesus-witness to the men and women who are trying to live a life that avoids suffering at all costs, including the cost of their own souls.
For at least one reason why people are uncomfortable with tears and the sight of suffering is that it is a blasphemous assault on their precariously maintained . . spirituality of the pursuit of happiness. They want to avoid evidence that things are not right with the world as it is—without Jesus (and Job, David, and Jeremiah), without love, without faith, without sacrifice. It is a lot easier to keep the American faith if they don’t have to look into the face of suffering, if they don’t have to listen to our laments, if they don’t have to deal with our tears.
So learning the language of lament is not only necessary to restore Christian dignity to suffering and repentance and death, it is necessary to provide a Christian witness to a world that has no language for and is therefore oblivious to the glories of wilderness and cross.
I hope that many have the grace to weep and pray with Bundibugyo, and so discover the wilderness where God’s presence flames.
Posted Saturday December 8, 2007 12:18 a.m.
May God give us hearts that are large enough to carry the cares of these people who are facing such devastating circumstances. May we weep with Jonah’s mother and his grieving wife as they carry on without a husband and father in a country where having no man often means having no provision. May we pray earnestly for the protection of this medical missionary family and that this outbreak will be supernaturally contained through the mercy of our Lord.
Read More at http://www.whm.org/news/ebolainuganda