Some kids came back from our fields saying they had seen our Fulani friend carrying an oddly shaped bundle. They said it looked like a wrapped-up child. A dead body? Alarmed, I took the path to our friend’s homestead about a kilometer from our house. The family had three little boys—twins about two years old and Bawa, about four years old. One of the twins had been sick often in the past few weeks. I wondered if the sickness had turned deadly.

When I arrived at the trail leading to their huts, I saw several ladies sitting on mats. This was not a good sign. They rarely have visitors since their home is so isolated. When I got closer, I saw the wife and mother, a beautiful, tall Fulani lady, sitting on a stool with the twins on her lap. I looked around for Bawa who usually plays somewhere in the yard. I didn’t see him. I squatted down next to my friend. My heart sank as I asked, “Was it Bawa?”

With tears streaming down her face, she answered, “It was Bawa, Mom.”

“Was he sick?”

“No Mom, he wasn’t sick. This morning he was in the fields with his dad. When they came home he complained of a stomach ache. When it got worse, his dad took him to the healer, and there he died.”

No words seemed appropriate, so I just squatted there in silence. Then she looked at me with deep sadness in her eyes. “This is the fourth child I’m burying.” I vaguely remembered her telling me once that her firstborn daughter had died and that another set of twins had been born premature and only lived a few months. And now Bawa, a happy, playful child who was always following his daddy around.

As I walked home, I wondered how much pain a mother’s heart can bear before it breaks.

“He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming quickly’” (Rev. 22:20) Amen! Even so, come Lord Jesus!

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