Saturday, February 18, 2012

Liz

Today, I asked Sharon to tell me stories in Luganda. We've been doing it for a couple of weeks now: she'll say a sentence and I'll translate into English until we've completed the whole narrative. Today I asked her if she had any story, and after thinking a bit, she said yes. She told me the story of Liz, a girl who goes to her university. Liz is in her first year at Uganda Christian University, and was dating a guy who was going to the Islamic University here in Mbale. On Tuesday, her boyfriend came and told her that they should stop living together and take a break from the relationship until they had both finished their studies. Liz must have been heartbroken to an incredible degree. Upon reaching home that night, she decided life wasn't worth living anymore and covered herself in kerosene. I really can't imagine the depression and pain that convinced her to light that match and set herself on fire. Miraculously, she survived and was taken to Mbale hospital for treatment. Her whole body and face, except for her legs, are severely burned. While it is a miracle she has survived this long, doctors are still unsure if she will make it. As Sharon told me the story, horror and pain washed over me as I tried to comprehend the pain of this young girl. When she was finished, we sat together in somber silence for a while, and I quietly talked to the Lord and asked what I should do. He said, "Go."
But Lord, how can I go and talk to a girl who doesn't even know me and is in that kind of suffering?
What could I really say to comfort her and speak truth to her heart?
Who am I to pretend be able to offer her comfort from her suffering?
Would her family really even allow me to see her?
What good could I really do?

He simply responded, "Go, and I will give you the words to speak."

So we went. Together, Sharon and I waked the 15 minutes to the hospital and found the wing Liz was staying in. The nurse brought us to her bed where she was lying covered from head to foot under a cloth dome and a mosquito net that covered her body to protect her from the flies. The nurses stood at her foot trying to find a vein in her toe (the only untouched area available) to insert an IV, but they failed. While we waited for her aunt to appear so that we could ask for permission to talk to Liz, I listened to her soft moans and prayed desperately for her relief. Before her aunt came back, the nurses asked all visitors to leave so that they could begin treating patients. Sharon thought she had seen the aunt outside, so I asked if we could go and talk to her. We carefully approached the group of women that the aunt was seated with, and greeted them. I explained that I would love to talk with them in Luganda, but I was still learning, so Sharon agreed to translate as I talked with the aunt. We asked how Liz was doing, and how Auntie was doing as well. She said that she had so many problems, but was unwilling to talk about them at the time. I asked if I could pray for her and Liz, and she readily agreed. After praying over her, I asked if I could come back again and visit, and she said yes.

As I sit here, my heart aches. I know what it is like to watch a loved one in horrendous pain, helpless to soothe the suffering. I can only imagine Liz's pain now as her mental and spiritual pain is only augmented by the physical anguish she now endures. My heart breaks for her and her auntie. And I long to share with her the comfort, peace, and healing only the Lord can bring. I don't know what He will lead me to do in the days to come. But I do know that He has burdened my heart for Liz, and I pray that He will burden your hearts as well. Please pray for her. Please pray that her heart, mind, soul, and body will be covered over with His grace and healing. And pray for me as well, that I might be an instrument of His mercy to her in the coming days.

2 comments:

  1. May God "make you worthy of his calling and may {He} fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by His power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ." 2 Thess. 1:11-12

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  2. Praying for Liz with you, friend. I pray that all who read this will be led to do the same...and for your opportunity to minister to her with Sharon. Thanks for sharing the heartbreaking stories as well...

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