Sometimes things are just too much.
It has taken me over a week to write this letter because it has been too much.
Last Tuesday morning, our friend Ben’s brother called us. The tumor on his knee was too much. Despite moving to Kampala and visiting a Cancer ward, an orthopedic hospital, and receiving advice from several places, the cancer took the life of this young man. We went to visit his family in their small village last Saturday. When we reached their small hut, we saw the grave dug behind the house. However, the brothers were not there. They were at another funeral for an uncle who was helping these three orphan brothers survive. There is too much death. Help for those who need it- not enough.
Last Tuesday morning, Baraba Paul and his family also visited us. I rejoiced to see the tumor was reduced! But Baraba sat in the Katubi with a hood on his head, hiding his face. There was too much sadness. I asked the father how things were. We found out that they failed to go to the last chemo treatment. They were now two weeks late. I asked him why. He said the vehicles were too much. They were afraid. This family is from a small village and coming to our town, the Nyahuka trading center, is a big deal. When they first went to Kampala, they were robbed on the way. I understand their fear.
Still, Burkett’s lymphoma grows incredibly fast. I called the oncologist in Kampala who has been so kind in treating Baraba. She replied over the phone that they cannot take Baraba back. He was late to the November chemo and missed the December chemo. By now, the fast growing cancer that was already penetrating his jaw and into his orbit would be too much. There were also too many other children who need access to the limited amount of chemo-therapeutic drugs in Uganda. The cancer is too much. The amount of kids with cancer is too much. The expense and barriers to chemo was too much. I finally begged her to take Baraba for palliative chemo in hopes a miracle can happen. It is too much for me to watch him die. She said yes, but this will probably not be enough.
While we talked on the phone with the hospital, Baraba played legos with our children and the neighborhood children. He began to smile and even pulled back his heavy winter coat hood. I guess sitting with a bunch of kids “who have no skin” (us) made him feel that the growth on the side of his face was not so unusual.
Pray for Baraba. The cancer is too much. The therapy will not be enough. But for God, surely this is not too much.
This Tuesday, we were visited by a “son of the mission,” a lab tech at the health center that was “adopted” by the Myhres and well loved by all of us. He said there has been no blood in the Health Center for 4 months. My head went swimming as I thought of how many dozens of children in these 4 months have lost their lives because of the lack of blood to cure the anemia resulting from malnutrition, malaria and sickle cell. The anemia is too much. The time without blood is too much. The corruption that prevents proper use of funds is too much. Advocates for this place with out a voice- not enough.
It is too much. So, I weep. Perhaps this is what led to Jesus weeping at the tomb of Lazarus. I love Christ School and am hopeful because of the leaders that it is helping to shape. But the time until they come is too much. The number of deaths of children between now and then is too much. My knowledge of medicine given as a gift is too much- too much to stay inside. The workload to run a team and a school is too much- too much to also help at the Health center.
So, please pray with us for the needs here in Bundibugyo. They are too much.
I am holding onto the hope that it is not too much for God. I know He knows the problems, I know He hears the cry of the needy, I know He is working, and I know He also is weeping. It is why we are here.
If it was not for the hope of seeing God in the land of the living, I would be in complete despair. Ps 27:13