I have been sitting here staring at my computer screen for 20 minutes just trying to figure out what I should title this post. I don't even know where to start.
Tragedy strikes like lightening out here. Lightening that comes from a clear blue sky with no ominous dark clouds or warning signs.
Yesterday someone came running and wailing into the village, and my heart sank as I saw all my friends take off down the airstrip.
We soon found out that we lost another one of our bright young boys. This 16 year old was with his brother and another guy a day's hike away from our village. He started to cross a rotting vine bridge when one of the other's told him not to. He continued on and the bridge broke as he was half way across. They saw him go down into the river, but never saw him surface. They were only able to glimpse his hands as the raging river quickly carried him away. The two others searched the rest of the day for his body, but never found it. They arrived at our village early the next morning to tell us the news and to gather a search party. Most of the village left soon after to go find him. It is eerily quiet here as only a few women and small children are left here.
I am devastated and confused. This was another young boy that we loved. He was very kind and helpful and loved the Lord. We live in a very small village right in the center of everything, so we see these people day in and day out, and sorely miss them when they are gone.
I have unbelievers on the left saying that this was the work of evil spirits, and believers on the right, saying this is what happens when you leave the village instead of staying to listen to God's Word and I am pulled desperately in both directions trying to speak truth to each side when neither of us really understands the language the other is speaking. Inadequate does not even begin to describe it how I am feeling.
All the while I am begging God for a miracle- asking and hoping that this boy some how survived and that they find him alive. And as selfish as it is, I am hoping that if they don't find him alive, then I hope they just don't find him at all.
Death here is so gruesome and in your face. No one comes to preserve the body and make it look nice and at peace. There are no closed caskets until right before the body goes into the ground. One of my biggest struggles with all this death has been seeing (and smelling) the bodies of these once vibrant boys rot and decay before my very eyes.
I can't even think about what I will have to see if and when they arrive back in the village with a body that has been lifeless for four or five days.
I keep wondering what God is doing in all this. There are so many scoffers in and around this village that criticize and scorn the believers for abandoning the old ways and living new lives in Christ. Each time something bad happens it gives them reason to point fingers and place blame on the Christians for not appeasing the spirits as they should. I am thankful that many of the believers are standing strong and not giving in to the doubts surrounding them. I keep wondering about the future of the Hewa church if Satan continues to succeed in robbing us of those young men we saw as future leaders and missionaries.
But the Lord reminds me that each of His disciples were killed for His Name (except for one who was exiled) yet His Word spread and His church grew. I know that the victory belongs to Jesus no matter what the battle looks like at this point, so I cling to this promise and hope. I am trusting that from these seeds of death, God will bring forth new life into His Hewa church- that what we are now sowing in sorrow, we will one day reap in joy.