This week at the hospital was too much to describe with words. I suppose most of my experiences here are. It seemed each patient had a tragic story of unrelenting sickness, abandonment, and hopelessness.
I was in charge of the Female Ward and in five days, we admitted three suicide attempts. Three women caught in the enemy's lie that all was lost, this life was not worth it. Each one had a different story but all three had the same sad, lifeless look in their eyes, eyes searching for a glimmer of hope.
Two more patients were admitted last week with severe sickness and neither were improving. We had done all we could do, used every antibiotic in the hospital (which is only 3 or 4 on a good day), ordered every lab available (which is as basic as it gets), prayed for a miracle, and were now just waiting.
The Female Ward was packed all week & by the end of the day on Friday, I was physically, emotionally, spiritually exhausted. All I wanted was rest. All I could think of was those patients. I could feel the weight of it.
"Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28
I woke up Saturday morning two hours before my alarm and couldn't go back to sleep. I made some coffee, sat outside on our front porch, prayed, and waited for the sun come up. And like the sun creeping over the wall of the mission, I felt this hope welling up in me. I could feel the weight lifting.
I headed over to the hospital at 8am for morning rounds and walked into a half empty ward. Many of the patients had been well enough to go home. Praise the Lord. Like Esther, who had been there for a week with congestive heart failure and gastroenteritis. Such a sweet spirit.
Irene, the patient who had been the most critically ill, barely able to move or communicate the day before, was not in her bed when I walked by. As I turned around, her mother was pushing her into the ward in a wheelchair. She was alert and sitting up on her own.
Two of the women who had attempted suicide were discharged with the remaining patient doing remarkably well. I had the opportunity to spend time with all three, holding their hands, praying for them, watching the life return to their eyes. Hope. There is always hope.
But I will hope continually & will praise you yet more and more. My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all the day, for their number is past my knowledge. (Ps 71:14-15)
I left the hospital feeling like I was able to take a deep breath for the first time since Monday. We all met back at the house, packed up the van, and headed to Livingstone for a day out of Zimba.
Victoria Falls is one of the seven natural world wonders and I hope some day you get to see it with your own eyes. I promise pictures and words don't do it justice. We hiked, climbed, explored, and got absolutely drenched. We hung out with Zebras, drank Coke Zero, and watched the sunset over the Zambezi River. It was a much needed break.
Hope is not lost. Hope remains.
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. (Rom 12:12)
You may have noticed, I am not a great photographer but guess who is. This guy. If you want to see more photos of our adventure, check out his photojournal.