We have some unexpected sad news to share. Those of you who have visited SOS within the past couple years probably would have met Helen and her two children. Helen grew up in our home, but during a rebellious season, left school and our home, which resulted in an abusive relationship in the slums with a drunkard and the ensuing births of two children. When the sicknesses of her children became overwhelming, Helen returned home to us with her two babies.
After diagnosis, it was discovered that both children, Innocent (almost 2 at the time) and Treasure (an infant) suffered from Sickle Cell Anemia. Innocent was weaker than Treasure, since this disease had gone untreated for almost 2 years.
We set up a small apartment for Helen (not even 20 years old yet) and her two children, employed Helen part time, and began to mentor her as a new mother. The Spirit of God began to work in this young woman’s broken heart. A couple months after getting settled into her new life here, she shared, “God used the sickness of my children to bring me to Himself! I had thought He had abandoned me, but really He was bringing me here!”
We enjoyed our new niece and nephew who frequented our home almost daily. The patter of tiny feet and sweet laughter was a blessing to us all. Yet, the joy was darkened by the cloud of Innocent’s suffering. He spent much time with Helen in the hospital, terrorized by painful sickle cell attacks. We hated to watch our little buddy go through such pain and prayed for his healing. God answered our prayers early Friday morning. He had been diagnosed with Malaria on Tuesday and took his medicine faithfully, but his weakened body couldn’t fight the Malaria, and God took him Home on their drive to the hospital.
Helen arrived back home around 4:30 am. Innocent’s body was laid on our living room floor as I held Helen under a blanket on the couch. We were able to cry and process together for almost 2 hours before anyone else woke up. After the sun rose, Helen sat in our living room with Innocent’s body as over a hundred mourners from our church came to silently sit with her. After lunch, we loaded the small coffin into one of our vehicles and drove to the slums of the family of Innocent’s father. Inside the closet-size living room of the tumbling brick “flat”, Helen introduced Shannon and me as her parents and Innocent’s grandparents to the gathered relatives. Shannon and I then had the opportunity to testify to them the reason for the change they observed in Helen. Her strength and grace came from the power of God transforming her heart as she surrendered to Him. Once again, Innocent’s sickness opened doors for the gospel.
Today, 26 church members boarded our bus to travel to the burial site for Innocent to join the 8 who had spent the night with Helen. Please pray for further gospel opportunities, and especially for the comfort of Helen. She had dedicated her life to nurturing and caring for her little man. At the age of 3, he looked out for his mama with a unique tenderness. He couldn’t wait to attend Legacy Christian Academy, and one of Helen’s first realizations after his death was, “I always dreamed of him attending Legacy. Now he won’t.” Her heart is left with a huge hole.
Please pray for Helen as she comes home to all of his possessions and the daily reminders of what is gone. Please pray that this trial deepens her faith, rather than weakens it. Please pray for Innocent’s many aunts and uncles in our home who miss their little buddy.
Through our tears, we trust that our Good Father has acted in His wisdom and kindness in rescuing our Innocent from further earthly suffering. We can’t wait to give him a big hug very soon!