Saturday, August 4, 2012

Mrs. Tembo's passing

Mrs. Tembo passed away Thursday evening.
She was taken to the hospital a week and a half ago and remained there until she died.
Over the past month I visited her about every week, and James was able to see her as well. Sadly, none of her children came to the hospital.

There is so much that could be said, even about visiting her in the hospital and the conditions there, but I just wanted to write and ask for prayers for the children. They are now double orphans and really have no relative that cares enough or has the ability to take care of meeting their needs.

I received the news Friday morning. I had lots of things to do for the day, picking up the kids results from school and meeting with their teachers since they have finished the second term and are now on holiday break and getting ready for 2 birthday parties this weekend, for Ian and Emma. So I didn’t have any time to go up to Kabanana until late afternoon. I had called Maureen to ask her to meet me there since the funeral, which is what we would call the visitation, was at another relatives home. She wasn’t available and so I was trying to get someone to meet me there and in the end it worked out for Fanny to go with me, even though she had been there in the morning with Katryn and Maureen and she was going back to stay overnight.

The funeral lasts usually 2 days, and people will sleep over at the home and stay with the family for the next 2 days, then the burial will take place.

So when I got there, everyone was having their lunch. There were groups of people in several rooms of the unfinished concrete house. I saw Wisdom and Morgan along with their friend Kelly in one of the rooms. I greeted them expressed my sympathy and they invited me to join them. I first went to greet the mother of Mrs. Tembo and some other ladies but then went back to where the boys were and sat on a concrete block with them and we ate nshima together. Wisdom was quiet the whole time, and Morgan felt like talking. We talked about various things, including the camp we are having in a few days for all the kids, as well as the day before when they had met with Joseph and he taught them how to use the computer and played football with the boys. They had great fun. It was so good to see them all laughing and enjoying themselves, just the day before.

When we arrived at the house we saw Nathan walking out, crying.
He had been at school all day, this is his first week of college classes, and had just heard the news right then.

He went to his home alone.

As morgan and I were talking, he asked me if both of my parents were still alive. I told him yes, they were. Then he asked how old they are. In their 60’s I told him. Which is old for the Zambian life span. He then asked again, “both of them?”
it was at that point I realized how blessed I have been and how blessed I still am.

Morgan has essentially been orphaned 3 times. His mom, he was told last year, was not really his mom, but his aunt and she has been raising him as her own. So now here he is with another parent dying.

When I finished visiting with them we prayed and then I went to the other room to find Fanny and we started to leave. She then mentioned going to see Nathan and so we left with Wisdom and Morgan to go check on their brother.

We entered into the Tembo’s home and waited in the sitting room while the boys went into the one bedroom in the house to check on him. They then said that we could come in and they walked out of the room.

Nathan was still grieving and it was very hard and sad. He mentioned how hard his mom had worked for his education and that now she wouldn’t be there to see the fruits of that.

Fanny encouraged him and then I told him that just a few weeks ago his mom had asked to see me and when I went in, she was talking about Nathan and his school and that no one else would help him. She was worried for him, that he had come so far and been accepted and now was waiting for his school fees to be paid for college.

I assured her of our commitment to helping him, and that we care about him and want to see him do well. I encouraged her with how well all her boys were doing and that she was very blessed. She spoke for a long time to Fanny in vernacular, and then Fanny translated the main point of what she was saying which was “Thank you”, and that she could now be at peace. She was crying saying thank you and several other things which moved me to know how grateful she was for the help the kids have received.

Over the years we have had several not so pleasant interactions as we have argued to get Wisdom on medications and had to remove her oldest daughter from the program as she became pregnant and then lied to us that she was raped. We have had many struggles with her and the family and at times I walked out of the house frustrated with her and she upset with me.

But here at the end of her life, she was seeing that we only wanted the good of her children and even her own good. So she thanked me many times and through tears, said, “Megan I love you”. I told her I loved her to, which at that point I had tears streaming down my face as well. I took part of a chitenge that was laying on her bed and wiped the tears from her eyes. I then tried to speak of Christ and trusting Him only for her hope of Heaven. We prayed and then we left. In the car going home Fanny remarked how she has never heard her say that to anyone. (That as well moved me to tears again that she would want to tell me)

I visited her 2 other times after that, and then she died.

So as I saw Nathan crying at the very same place his mother had been, it was quite difficult. We stayed with him for a little bit and then got ready to leave. I asked Fanny to pray for us and we called Morgan and Nathan in to the room. We held hands and she prayed, and then we left.

As we were driving away, Fanny and I were talking about the certain “sweetness” of being there with them for that moment. She said it was like in the beginning. Just her and I and the Tembos. They were the first kids we started working with 2 and a half years ago, back when it was just Fanny and I.

I am very thankful in God’s providence how he worked out the details and the timing for the events on that day. It was certainly a sad and difficult day.
Tomorrow morning is the burial. This will actually be my first time to attend a burial service in Zambia.

Please pray for the kids. Nathan is now the head of the home and they need much help materially and emotionally. Also please pray for Wisdom. He knows that he has the disease that ultimately took his mother’s life. He also has been “coached” on the evils of taking medication, by his own mother. Pray that when the time comes, he will be willing to start the medications. And pray for the outpouring of love and comfort and peace to these children, that they would know the hand of God in this dark time. Thank you.


  1. Megan, I'm so sorry, but I'm glad you had some sweet conversation with Mrs. Tembo. We will keep the children in our prayers.

  2. Thanks for posting this, Megan. Although I only met the boys briefly that day in Kabanana, we have been praying for the Tembo family for some time, and won't stop now. It was good to hear that you had such a blessed time with Mrs. Tembo there at the end!

    Love to you all,

  3. So very sorry to hear about Mrs Tembo! I will continue praying for the children and especially that Wisdom would be persuaded to accept the medication someday.