(KW Editor’s Note: Kim Jefferies is currently in Malawi to assess resources available for children with disabilities and their families.
Malawi Disability Ministry: Kingdom Workers seeks to share the gospel with people who have intellectual and physical disabilities and to support, educate, and witness to their families in Malawi.) View several photos from their trip [HERE]
I've had so many moments here in Africa these past six days. Some difficult and some extremely joyful. One of my most joyful moments came when we met with Pastor Mkowesenga in his village. We picked him up at his house before heading off to see two members of his Jesus Cares Ministry in nearby villages. It was interesting because it was our first trip to the village and our first experience seeing what village life was like. The first thing we both noticed was the bore hole in the middle of the village. Our congregation had just watched a video on the work being done drilling bores in Africa. And here we were seeing one in the flesh! While it was neat to see the video come to life, that wasn't my moment.
My moment came when we arrived at the second house and got to meet a member of the Jesus Cares program that Pastor Mkowesenga and his team run, Emma. Emma's grandmother brought out chairs for us to sit on and ran to go get Emma. As we sat, we talked to the other children sitting by the house and learned that Emma's parents had both died, which is why her grandmother was raising her. We learned that Emma was born healthy, but at age four she got a high fever (our guess is malaria but no one knows for sure), and then she fainted and was never the same. It's our guess that she had a febrile seizure due to her fever that caused some brain damage, but that's only a guess and we'll never know. It really doesn't matter. My only point in mentioning it is that if that's the case, it could have been prevented 100% if medications for malaria were available for people like Emma.
Then Emma's grandmother brought her out to meet us. Emma looked right up at me and smiled. And then she laughed. That was my moment. It was my moment because I could tell right away that Emma was loved. That against all odds with deceased parents, living in poverty in a village, that Emma had joy in her life and she was loved. It's the kind of joy that when people express it, you know it can only come from God because that type of pure joy doesn't exist this side of heaven. I can still hear her laugh, and her smile is etched not just into my memory - but into my heart.
It brought to mind a passage from 1 Peter 2:9 -
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
Emma was that light in a place filled with darkness. Emma is chosen by God and declares His praises through the love of God she expresses in that joyful smile.
I get to see Emma again this Saturday at Jesus Cares, and I will tell you it's probably the thing I'm looking forward to most. Seeing that precious, loving, joyful smile and hearing that beautiful laugh again. I can't wait!
In : Malawi