Thursday, October 9, 2014

A Dolly for Yusuf from Larry

When I entered the pediatric ward of Malindi Hospital, one mama dressed in beautiful bright colors was sitting on the waiting bench with her small boy who was sprawled across her arms. Yusuf was obviously very sick - lethargy from fever and a bit of a garbled breath. Through an interpreter, mama said she'd been waiting since noon to be seen. It was now after 5:00.

Given her attire and her lack of English speaking skills, this mama had obviously traveled some distance from the village to be here and was certainly not going home for the night. I greeted her and introduced myself in Swahili and sat quietly beside her. I could see that she was both wary and weary wondering what this mzungu was up to.

I explained that I wanted to give her this dolly for Yusuf so that he could be comforted by a small friend and reminded that Jesus loves him. Again, she was a bit confused. Let's start at the beginning. I told mama Yusuf about a man named Larry who went to my church in America for  a very long time, who loved Jesus so much that even when he was sick he kept praying for other people, and that if he were here now he'd be praying for her boy. I told her that Larry went to be with Jesus not long ago and that I wanted to give Yusuf this dolly to remind her of the love between Christians (at this point, I'm rather belatedly wondering if this woman was a Christian). I wanted her to know that everyone who sees the picture of Yusuf and his Larry doll would pray for healing and provision for them both.

Still a little wary, I told mama Yusuf that she doesn't have to pay for this dolly. It's a free gift just like the free gift Jesus gave us by dying on the cross for our sins. Quietly and slowly I could see her coming to understand this rather strange encounter and accept this dolly for her boy. I reminded her that when she sees this dolly she should remember that Jesus loves her and that we're praying for her. We prayed quietly together and I slipped out of the ward relatively unnoticed.