I recently listened to a message by Tony Evans: “if you have lots of struggles and challenges, you should pray more, and if you have many joys and good times, you should praise God more. In good or bad times, we always should talk to God, all the time.” His sermon really challenged me. I think I am finding life so hard here because I talk so little to God and keep trying to do things on my own.
I am realizing how much I look for satisfaction elsewhere than God Himself. But there is hope. God is at work in our lives and maybe one day I can share more praises than hardships? I don’t know.=D.
These last weeks and months have been marked by the deaths of people I know here in Kovol and back home in Germany. My two granddads died and also my dear aunt just recently. I miss my family in these times especially and I wish I could be there with them. I find great comfort knowing that my granddads and my aunt are now enjoying being with God their father, because they believed that Jesus died for them on the cross paying for all their sins, and then He rose again, conquering death. I know I will see them again when I leave this earth either when I die or when Jesus comes back. Tragically, the Kovol people lack this comfort in the face of death.
Seeing one lady die right next to our house was particularly hard. She was carried to us severely ill from another village. Before she died, she kept just saying to me, “you are going to straighten me out, you straighten me out, help me…’” When I saw her she was already slipping away, but these whispered words came clear and she knew that she was talking to the white missionary who she was hoping would do the magic to heal her. She died in the night. I still remember her begging eyes so clearly, but there was nothing that we could have done. It was too late for the medicine that I gave her to kick in and heal her. We all found it really hard to know that we are also limited with what we can do. Also seeing the little kids of this mum going home without their mummy was hard as we got involved in their lives and got to know them a little bit. Her nursing baby was also really sick and probably dying of Pneumonia, But we were able to give some antibiotics to him before they left to go back. So hopefully he is doing ok now. I can’t even imagine how hard this is for this whole family.
Many others in Kovol are and have been sick recently, some we helped, some we never saw or knew about. Another older guy in our village died due to a chronic illness just recently. We all went to the funeral (though only our men stayed until the end since it got dark). All the realted clans came and showed their condolences, bringing food which was turned into a meal for everyone there. We all sat together, shared stories of him and how he died. Some went inside a house to see the body and cried there. There wasn’t much wailing when we were there, but that might have happened in the bush when he died. Then once all relatives, that could make it to the funeral, showed up from the different villages, they built a coffin for the body, dug a hole, and put him there. They finished while it was dark outside.
The next day after his death they tried to figure out why he died and what did go wrong. We don’t have a hospital or an aid post here. We don’t have a school here where they could learn about medicine. They were told by their ancestors that somebody’s sin/ wrong doing causes sickness or death. So they have to find it out what or who has caused this. They also don’t know where the person will go once he dies. There seem to be mixed beliefs. But we don’t know all of them yet.
I am looking forward to share with them the hope that we have of eternal life, and the assurance that we can have to be with God forever in this wonderful place that he is preparing for those that believe Jesus paid for their sins. I can’t wait until we finished language and culture study so we can teach them to read and to write and then that Jesus died for them and that he is the way to eternal life with God! That is why we are here and that is why we want to stick around for many more years.
Lois S. · 08/10/2021 at 12:15 am
Natalie, I am so sorry to hear about the deaths of your Opas and your aunt. That is very hard, even when you know where they are going. It is hard not to be together and grieve together. I am praying for you and your family in this hard time. And then the compounding heartache of seeing people die with no hope of eternity with Christ hurts even more. Thank you for your commitment to bring the gospel to these who still do not have the light of Christ.