Friday, October 18, 2013

Canopy of Darkness

I am very tired of writing about death. That is a sentence I never thought I would write. Not because I thought I would never tire of writing about death, but because I never thought I would be doing so much writing about death in such a short period of time.

Is that confusing. Probably.

Soon after we heard about our sweet friend, Etike's (pronounced EH-di-kay) death, we also learned that another man we knew was deathly ill, but far away in a different village. People offered to carry him to our place for treatment or possible evacuation to a hospital but he refused. We listened as people described to us his symptoms…blood coming out of his nose and mouth, and "he is pooping blood." 

Um, what? 

As, I have mentioned before I have zero medical training and am violently worthless in emergency situations. I have no idea how to handle blood coming out of every orifice of someone's body. Later, one of our medical workers, said, "No, he is just pooping blood", so I looked up dysentery and how to treat it then sent him on his way to take medicine to this ailing man. 

Not long after the medical worker left, my coworker, Susan wrote me from the US where she is with her family on furlough. She told me that the man probably doesn't have blood coming out of anywhere in his body, but that is just something the Hewa say when someone is really really sick. Her guess was that he had scrub typhus, and that he needed a different kind of medicine and he would be fine…if he didn't get that medicine then he would die. Also, the medicine I gave him caused a serious allergic reaction when she treated his baby earlier in the year, so there is a chance that he could be allergic to it as well. 

Great. Not only did I not help this man at all, but I may have just killed him faster. I have now moved from "worthless" in an emergency situation to "hazardous". Seriously, people. Keep me away from your diseased or injured. I will only make things worse, and hyperventilate while doing it. 

Anyway, I say all that to say this. My coworkers who have been with the Hewa people for 12 years are amazing. They know exactly what to say and do in every situation. When we wrote them to share the sad news of the teen boy's death they told us what the Hewa believers would probably say, and what the Hewa unbelievers would probably say. And that is EXACTLY what each group said. I mean WORD FOR WORD. Sometimes I think they know the Hewans better than the Hewans know themselves. 

They have lived with and suffered through some of the worst tragedies imaginable during their years of ministry and yet they keep coming back. Jonathan Kopf has eloquently penned those first few years with the Hewa work and the horrific incident that almost shut the whole thing down in his book Canopy of Darkness

I really wish I had internet right now, so that you could just click a link and go to this site to buy this book right away. But, I don't, so please take the time to copy and paste it in your web browser to make this purchase. Go to and buy Jonathan's book to learn more about the beginning of the work that we are a part of. I would love for everyone* to read this book and get a great glimpse into the Hewa life and culture and what it is like to minister in this place. No one tells a story as accurately and vividly as Jonathan. I have a few of his stories posted on this blog and they have been some of the most read and loved posts to date. Please. Please. Please. PLEASE read this book. Please. 

Can I do anything else to convince you to read it? Seriously, what do you want? Email me what you want me to do and I'll do it…or I'll tell you I'll do it, but you won't ever know because I live in the middle of the jungle and my husband is really good at photoshop. 

*I want everyone to read this book except our parents. Not because I think you will be terrified and want us to come home right away. That is not it at all. I just think you will probably be completely bored and fall asleep before you get to the end. Seriously, mom and dad and the Georges don't read this book. Totally not worth your time. But only you four. Everyone else will really love it. 

The End. 

Did you buy the book yet? No? What are you waiting for? I am going to totally quiz you on the first four chapters tomorrow! 

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