In the past month, Natilia has become increasingly dear to my heart to the point where she's now deep down in there. I've been visiting every few days to check in on her at home, often with a friend to pray for her together, and weekly buying food and medicine. We've gone back to the hospital 2 more times- 12 days after the first visit, and then again today, which was only 9 days after the second visit- and both times 3 1/2 more gallons of thick yellow water drained out of her stomach.
Despite this, she is constantly so smiley and just indescribably precious. I'm 4 months in on learning Creole, so we can communicate, but it's still on a somewhat simple level and I don't understand everything she says. Yet communication is 93% nonverbal anyways, so even without the ability to talk on a deep level, I feel like we've become really good friends and I've come to quickly and deeply love her and her children.
It has brought deep joy to my heart to be able to minister to her. I see how beloved she is to God, and to be able to take care of one of His helpless children is a great great privilege. Always, always, there are moments writing themselves on my heart out here, like snapshots I will never forget. One was walking out of the hospital after the first drain- she was so weak and tired I thought she might faint. And one was walking out after the second drain- I walked ahead to call a taxi, and as I looked back I saw her walking strong and smiling with her arm linked in her daughter's. Twelve days of eating so much better and the medicine had made a huge difference in her strength.
God is stirring in her poor neighborhood. One woman keeps saying that Natilia will die. Others are saying that God must love her very much if He sent someone to help her. Today as I sat outside her house waiting for her to get ready before we went to the hospital, the usual crowd of kids gathered and a couple adults, and we ended up reading from my little Creole New Testament the story of Jesus' birth. As Sara and I left the other day, about 8 of the kids walked us to our house, play-fighting over who got to hold our hands the whole way- we were quite a spectacle in the street, the crowd of us. Natilia is literally aglow in His love right now and it radiates.
The tears came tonight after I finally decided to take a few moments to do some research on what the doctor suspects is her problem- cirrhosis of the liver. (Turns out it is caused from things other than just alcoholism.) After I read about it, I am almost 100% sure he is right. It seems she has cirrhosis which is causing ascites- the accumulation of fluid (usually yellow) in the abdominal cavity. Although her stomach filling up with that much water that quickly should've been a pretty obvious clue, I didn't realize until I researched it tonight how bad this disease is and how serious her case is. I see that either God will do a miracle and heal her for all the neighborhood and hospital to see, or she will probably go to be with Jesus sooner than later, and I think I will take care of her kids.
I don't know what God's plan is. His will and ways are always perfect, and we can just rest in trusting in Him. Yet still, my heart grieved tonight at the thought of her dying soon. Please pray for her.
|Near the end of the draining with her son |
who I now refer to as Doctor Carlos. :)
Also, the hospital ministry has begun, mostly with the babies in the pediatric ward and in the women's ward with Natilia so far. Meeting and talking with the patients or their families, laying hands and praying for them, bringing formula or juice or sharing my almonds with everyone in the women's ward today. :) I love that God has opened this door, and one of the most staggering things is that it is directly ministering to Him- "I was sick and you visited Me..." (Matt. 25:36).
|This one, Patricia, has completely stolen my heart.|
|In the babies room in the pediatric ward.|
Psalm 30:2~ O LORD my God, I cried out to You, and You healed me.