Monday, May 14, 2012

Things You Don't See

I walked into the room, saw the dead girl’s hair flowing out from the sheet covering the rest of her body. She’d just died two hours ago. Really, at age 17, she’d just started to live.
Her body lay on the floor of an empty living room in this small Indonesian house. I’d seen it before—this Indonesian process of burying the dead. All taking place in the home—washing done by the family or friends. Grave clothes sewn, grave dug—all by relatives. No funeral home, no embalming, no distance from death.
I saw other things this week that I’ve seen before, since moving here. But that maybe you haven’t.

There was the hard:

The disease—typhoid—that could have been prevented with a $20 vaccine. Claiming the life of a girl who just wanted to go to Bible school to serve her God and her people.

The medical care—that is limited on this small island, more limited if you’re poorWhen the disease spread to her brain, no one here was willing to operate. Moving her to a big city would have been extremely risky and crazy expensive, with a 50-50 chance of it making any difference. Not really an option for a poor village girl.

There was the good:

The heart of this girl, willing to move hundreds of miles from her tiny village to go to school in another tiny village. All to prepare to give her life away in the jungle villages of  Borneo, serving the poorest and most remote areas in the world.

The Indonesian pastor who was like a father to her, who found her village—literally found it. Brought a school there. Opened a church. Taught the people how to read. Introduced her to the One who would make her alive.

The MAF airplane that brought in the girl from the village of her school to our town so she could be treated in a hospital. And the MAF wife (a friend of mine) who spent hours everyday doing everything she could to save the girl’s life.
There was the amazing.

The outpouring of love from strangers and acquaintances—both western and Indonesian--to pay her medical bills, bring her father food in the hospital. Hosting the family, and the funeral in their homes. They don’t really know her. One family has even obliged the family’s wishes to wait on the funeral for four days for the family to congregate.No embalming, the body remaining on the floor of the house until time for burial.
The fact that this is normal here. These Indonesian friends of ours who always do this. 
Always take in the sick, the dying, the family members waiting for treatments for their loved ones. They spend their free time in the hospital. They lose sleep for middle-of-the-night  needs. They meet need after need out of the little that they have. All the time.
I knew when I moved to Indonesia that I would see things I’d never seen before. Wild monkeys in trees. Sharks while SCUBA diving. Rainforests and their fascinating people.

But the sacrifices? And the faith? And the giving?

May you see these things too. May you, like me, have your heart broken, and yet so filled.

photo credit, hokkey


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