As I looked around the room, I saw many faces—each with a story, some happy, some sad.
Nanlinen and Arnil’s faces reminded me of Nanlinen’s pregnancy and how we struggled to stop the threatening preterm labor. Their faces reminded me of all the weeks we checked on their premature, two-pound baby boy every four hours until he was big enough to maintain his body temperature on his own. I remembered all the pleasant times we had, sharing Bible stories and praying with them during their many months at the clinic. But their faces also reminded me of sitting in the morgue with them, grieving at the loss of their son into whom we had all poured so much of our hearts. To me, their story ended far from what we would have hoped.
Then there is Miksi. Her sweet and slightly mischievous smile reminds me of all the times she would come and visit and hang out at my house. There was the time she showed up as I was starting a Bible study with someone on the state of the dead and how afterward, she told me she knew that she did not need to be afraid of the ghosts anymore. Now, sitting here in this room, she holds her how cute, healthy baby, who shares her big eyes and thick dark hair.
Then there is Maman Nugnug, who has come to the clinic many times. There was a period when he came very often as we tried to determine his unidentifiable illness. He is doing well now, and I was happy to see him listening in.
There were many others who I had gotten to know over the years—a lady I often treated for malaria and gastritis, another lady who always came with her mother when she needed something, and a lady who washed the laundry of one of my housemates every Sunday.
Despite all of the interactions, this village remained relatively closed to the gospel over the years, preferring their own animistic beliefs. But last year, Laressa, one of our student missionaries, started a small group in their village, and it has continued. Now all these people intently listen to the Bible stories presented to them on Sabbath mornings. Miksi will shyly mouth the words to a song. Others will timidly answer questions about the lesson. I pray that their interest is sincere and that it will last, and that all of their stories will end with eternity in heaven. I pray that I will be able to introduce them to each of you as we all gather around the throne one beautiful day! Will you please join me in interceding on behalf of the village of Perungsu’?