There are some things said that should just never be said. But I think its because we forget who we are and who God is. We are the created ones and He is the Creator.
We forget that, and we think we are something when we are nothing. It might not take on the same forms in all of us, but in the end it is always pride.
Last week I went to visit Mrs. Tembo. The mother of Wisdom the boy we sponsor in Kabanana who is HIV positive. For many months now, others have been trying to encourage her to let us start him on the ARV’s. The medicine that could very well prolong his life and help him to lead a healthy life.
Maureen, Fanny and Katryn have all been to see her on the matter a couple times.
A social worker and nurse from the local health clinic have also gone to visit the home and meet with her. The hope was that she was ignorant of how these drugs, sometimes termed the “Lazarus effect”, could help her son. The very one who came from her womb (most likely with the disease). Since these various meetings she has told the others she has “closed the chapter” and has run off the workers from the clinic-not to come back again.
I had not been to see her in quite some time and I had not yet spoken to her about it.
Maureen and Katherine went along with me. Mrs. Tembo can understand English but usually speaks back in Bemba so Maureen was translating what she said back to me.
We discussed how the family was, the kids at school, Nathan’s new job as a teacher and how big Memory’s baby is getting. Then I asked her about Wisdom.
Through a long conversation she still was holding fast to her thoughts on his not needing medicine and when he is older than he can decide. God has already healed him, she said. God says I will heal all your sicknesses and diseases, so we have to have faith that God has already healed Wisdom. Katherine brought up a good point and said what if we started him on the Arv’s and she could see how he does.
SO that brought me to ask if we started in July and continued to pray for Wisdom but also put him on the drugs, could we take that time until December and see how he did.
She said, no why don’t we all pray for him from now until December. I then told her that we ALL had been praying for him, for 9 months- Maureen, Fanny, Katryn, myself, AND a couple hundred other people in America. My church back home, Katherine said her church back home and many others.
Instead of being thankful that a boy in Africa has gotten the prayers of so many saints around the world, she told me that all of those praying then do not have enough Faith!
I would like to say I couldn’t believe it but sadly I could. The “gospel” that is preached and taught here is often the one of prosperity, health and wealth. Not the true gospel.
She has bought into the lie that if she has enough faith Wisdom will be healed. I tried to tell her that than it is dependent on her “work” of praying. That became clearer the more we talked but it didn’t seem to make any difference.
I explained that we love her family and Wisdom and we have sought to help them in many things over the last year that we have known them. She knew that to be true and I told her it is frustrating then when we know how to help and she will not let us. I told her this was not a “muzungu” thing, but as the nurses and doctors here have tried to explain the benefit to starting the medications.
She was not wanting to come to any conclusion so I propsed that we take the time between now and when the next school term starts, and we go to pay Wisdom’s school fees to help him in school, that we pray for him. Then at the end of August, we take him back for another CD4 count and see where he is and then start treatment if he needs it.
She “halfway” agreed and said if he is still sick, then we can do whatever we want with him because “God will have disappointed me”.
I repeated what she said, “Then GOD will have disappointed you?”
What about all the times We disappoint God every time we sin...God does not disappoint us. “ There is even a song that many people sing here, “I have never seen the Lord disappointing me...” She resigned herself to yes, HE will have disappointed me.
There was a little more discussion, but pretty much that was where things were left. Who knows if when we take him back in August she will agree, ( I am not holding my breath on that one ) but we still need to keep praying for him and the family please.
Morgan was in and out of the room as we were speaking and later when he came along to walk with us somewhere, I told him we care about Wisdom and he said yes he knew that. Then we talked briefly about the ARV’s and Wisdom and how come he has it and not me, Morgan asked. I told him that possibly his mom got it after he was born and then passed it on to his younger brother. But the sad reality here is that because of whatever cultural things, often kids that get it from their moms will not be told that is how they got it. SO they are left confused and wondering what “bad thing” they did to get this disease.
That really angers me sometimes, because here you have a boy who is confused as to why he has this disease, than he hears his mom argue against getting treatment for him, she herself is dying of AIDS, and she says when he is older then he can decide on his own.
Her “faith” also about a month ago, had her drive her son away from the home because he was bringing a curse upon their home with this disease. He left home at night crying and stayed over at the Chirwa’s house. She told him this was all his fault and there was this demonic activity because of him.
This is incredibly sad to see, but at the same time it shows why James’s work here with training Pastors in the Bible, is so vital and important. We are seeing the consequences of false teaching and the damaging effects on people’s lives, right here among the children and families that we are working with. It’s all connected.