The other day I was blessed to take part in something that brought tears to my eyes, deep thoughts to my mind and joy to my heart. A beautiful woman from South Africa, ‘Sue’, is running an orphanage here in Soddo and she got called out on an emergency to rescue an abandoned baby. I happened to be with her at that time, so I joined her in going to a vacant field in an area called Ottona.
When we arrived there was nothing less than a mob of people surrounding the area and joining us on the short trek to where the baby was laying. We walked up a hill and over to a spot of bushes and saw a woman standing next to a little bundle of white cloth. This was the woman that had found the baby naked, lying in the bushes and called the police, who then called the orphanage. The woman was walking through the field and came upon the baby boy and wrapped him in her shawl. The baby had been lying there all night long and it was a true miracle that he had survived the night (the temperature around here has been getting down in to the low 50’s with raging winds).
The baby’s temperature was way too low, so we hurried to the local hospital where the doctor’s did a quick exam to find the baby doing well, but very cold. We then rushed the baby to Sue’s house where we warmed him by swaddling him and giving him a bath. He began to get color in his skin, started crying for the first time and had a bowel movement. That may seem too much information and a little grotesque, but it is a beautiful sign of a healthy baby. I couldn’t help but start crying at the sound of his precious little voice. He was then dried off, and Sue did something that I’m sure she does for all her babies, but it was a thing I had never seen before. She took some oil, anointed the baby’s head and said the most beautiful prayer for the life of this child.
I wish I had memorized the prayer so I could recite it for you, but I will give you the general idea. She spoke about how we are all created in the image of God and that this baby has a beautiful purpose in life. He had been spared a life of sorrow and will now be blessed with a life of love and affection from a family that has been praying and longing for him for many years now. She spoke a beautiful blessing over the baby and he was then sent back to the hospital to learn how to take a bottle. The baby is now thriving and in the process of being adopted out to a family who is anxiously anticipating his arrival.
My eyes welled up with tears once again as I took part in something that had began as an injustice to an innocent child and ended in a miraculous story of healing and survival. I still do not fully understand why someone would leave a baby out to die, but I know that there is more to the story that I cannot fathom due to my life of an American where I rarely need to focus on my physiological needs, and instead strive toward becoming who I’ve longed to be (thank you, Maslow). I don’t know what it’s like to not be able to feed my child, or to see all my other children die because I have to feed my new baby instead. I don’t know what it looks like to have absolutely nowhere to turn when I can’t provide for my child or to have nowhere to take him after he is born. I don’t know what it is like to question if its better for him to die at night or die by the hand of my husband who comes home drunk every night with threatening words and actions.
I don’t know what the story is behind this child, but I know that he was spared death and has the opportunity to live life to the full from here on out. I wish that were the case for all the abandoned children of the world and not just this child. I wish there were never a time that a child would be left for the hostilities of nature to take his last breath. I am so thankful for a God of love and for the comfort of His words in 1 Corinthians 13:12-13:
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
God, give us the grace to love with a burning passion, fill us with hope for better things to come and have the faith make a change in this world. Amen.