Wednesday, September 28, 2011



We sidestep trash and puddle-filled stench. We move through the narrow corridor of buildings in the slum. And there in the midst of it all, we find glory.

In the small, dark room we huddle.  We've come to love. To stay. In solidarity.

When Niclete starts to sing, tremorous and brave, the women start weeping. The holy spirit breathes close and still. I think it is the most beautiful sound I have ever heard. I don't understand all the words. But I know she is singing to Jesus. A hum of a prayer. 

Worship in the face of loss. A heart surrendered. 

I learn something here every day. How love for God does not depend on circumstance.  How a loss can evolve into light. 
How thankfulness is the sweetest sacrifice. 

She lays it all down as she sings.

We read scripture and Valerie bends to pray and I look at the doorway bathed in glow. 

And I know He is here.

We fill her empty hands that should have known the soft skin of an infant, with the only comfort we know. A leather bound Bible. In Swahili. It took us a year to get them, our Father has been right on time. 

I see our women pressing hard-earned shillings into her palm. An offering.

And when I walk outside, I see Zabibu.

The one who survived.

And she is smiling. 


Healthy and whole. Zabibu smiles

Tuesday, September 27, 2011



When the baby stops breathing I feel the stone harden heavy in my chest.

I am not there, but on the phone I expel quick words and urgent instructions.

I feel the fear clutch.


Not again.


A thousand unanswered questions.

A hundred expectant dreams.

Not yet fulfilled.


But I dream still.


I say the words, “speak life,” as a prayer. I throw my faith on the line and ask God to answer. My heart begs Him. Not this time.

I hope.

And hope is the scariest word of all.

When the word comes back, it is empty. The air leaves flat with a sob. 

Sometimes we can only be Mary. Look straight into His eyes and bury the wonderings into His scarred chest. Heart sore, but leaning. I don’t hide how I feel from Him.


If you had been here….


The baby does not live. Body too twisted.

I close my eyes and see him in heaven with perfect legs.

The baby does not live. Here.

But Zabibu does.


The five year old sister, too sick to move. The mother too poor to take her to the doctor. Too proud maybe to ask for help.

We rush her to the hospital. Doors open and heaven sees us amongst the mass of people waiting to be saved.

The women huddle together, gather courage, and hold hands through the ache. Like tiny birds they offer each other shelter.

And I think, this is what love looks like.

Like shelter.


Zabibu grows healthy.

Her Muslim father sees the way the women take turns to offer an embrace, food, comfort. 

Like Jesus.


A community who does not run from pain.


A miracle in the mess.

Somewhere all of us under the shadow of His wing.

Somewhere the stone becomes a seed


and we dream