I love days when I end up with the car and am able to visit the hanger. On this day I was down town running errands with one of my soccer boys and decided to pop into the hanger to say hi to Matthew. He wasn’t there so we decided to wait around for him for an hour or so.
I wasn’t prepared for what I saw next….
A group of some city folks and two men from the mountain came wheeling a coffin into the hanger.
I didn’t quite understand what was happening. But I heard from someone that this was the woman that had died at the hanger the week before. Today we were transporting her coffin out to the mountains with her first born son and a friend so she could be buried properly.
As we waited for Bryan, one of our pilots, to get back from his flight so they could load the plane, I asked God to use me. I spied on the two intriguing men and watched Caleb help Joe work on the airplane, waiting for the Lord to speak.
He answered me by having me take their pictures. This might not seem cool to you, because you live in the digital age, but here a picture of ones’ self is a very rare things. I didn’t have my camera, but Justin our program manager helped me get new batteries for camera at the hanger, and he even gave me permission to use the little photo printer we have for the team too. Thankfully I had used it a few weeks before and learned its tricks, because everyone was very busy and I would have to act fast.
I asked BoNtate if I could take their photo and they said no, and implied they were eating. Ok, new strategy. Haha.
One of my co-workers wives showed up, and after talking with her and praying for her, as she is battling potential cancer right now, one of the men asked her a question. She translated. “He wants to know if the picture is for them and how much they have to pay for it.”
I was so very thankful she was there as I had her explain in fact, it was free and I could give them a copy! They were thrilled.
So we had a photo shoot!
Matthew and Bryan landed about now and the worker bees started buzzing, fueling and loading and organizing to get ready for the next flight.
As they were getting ready I quickly printed off BoNtate’s photos and joyfully delivered it to them. I wondered if this was the first photo they had ever received. I wondered if this could bring a little joy to such a terrible day of transporting your mother’s coffin back to your village. I wondered if they knew we did what we do because we love Jesus, or did they think I was just a nice girl, and this was just the guy’s job?
As BoNtate loaded the airplane I was able to thank The Lord because as I watched the coffin slide in, I saw LIFE being loaded in on top of death. In the plastic garbage bags were hundreds of “shepherd blankets.” One of the local churches we have started partnering with (it’s who we were raising the uniforms for) was donating them to pass out in the mountains. We were transporting them to a clinic, and the church would collect them there the following week when they went out on a mission trip with their youth group. I can’t explain how huge it is that we’re joining with the local church here and now. My friend was actually able to go on the trip and help pass out the blankets and uniforms, I will share her blog post soon.
The coffin we were flying back, apparently we had been flying this woman for 5 years or more so she could receive her cancer treatments. Last week was another one of those flights until the hospital told her that there was no point to do the treatment because she was so sick it wsan’t going to help. They told her to go home, that her time was short.
One of our national staff helped her lay down in the patient waiting room to get comfortable while the plane was prepaered, and when he went to get her up for the flight she didn’t wake up. Matt found out because he saw one of his co-workers crying outside. The man had known her for years. Needless to say the flight was canceled.
The same day this happened, Matthew was heading out to pick up a patient who died before he got there, and he was diverted en route. Rough day to say the least. This was the same day we went on our date to watch the sunset.
Before we came to Southern Africa we “knew” we flew 90% medical flights. Flying doctors, and patients, and medicine, but there was so way to prepare for this.
We rely daily on His strength alone. Every moment, where ever we are, we have a chance to be LIFE or Death. There is no in between, there is no middle ground. I heard once that the Devil owns the fence.
Every time some hears us interacting with our co-worker, or sees how we interact with the culture I have the opportunity to speak LIFE into him or death. Every time I speak to my son. Every time my husband walks through the door, past dark again, and dinner is burning and Chloe is screaming and Caleb is being a wild man, I have a CHOICE to speak LIFE or Death.
We choose whether we plant LIFE in others. Our response is our responsibility.
We can’t control the realities of life and death. I don’t understand it, or the world around me. We can’t control the patients we loose, or the problems with the medical system here in Lesotho.
But I know that I do have a choice. We at MAF Lesotho have a choice to be LIFE to those around us who are faced with death. The choice is ours. We can’t give others what we have found, but we can make them homesick for what we have.
And when I fail, because I often do. I go back, and fall on my face before HIS throne of GRACE and let his LIFE pour over me. The life that He gave up freely for little old me. I cling to His LIFE because He has given me mine.
I find strength as I spend time spending myself for others, because I know he died to bring me life.
And I rest, knowing that to lose my life is to gain.
“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.
Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”
1 John 3:16, 18
“Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it.”