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Melissa

25 January 2010 3 Comments

So as I told you all last time, Martha, Ashley and I are on an adventure of living simply. Today I want to share with you about a little life that Martha is saving. The story is best straight from Martha‘s mouth, so I will let her tell you about this beautiful story of redemption.

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I spotted her from a distance sitting in the sun all alone. Right away I could tell something was not right. I approached the little girl to find her sitting in her own urine, bottomless wearing only a torn, dirty shirt. She was so, so tiny. I bent down to touch her. All I knew to do was call on the name of Jesus in desperation. Her body so frail and little, I thought she was maybe between 1 and 2. Who is this little girl? Why is she all alone? Wanting to know about her we asked around the area trying to find answers to this little girl’s situation. Soon after, her father came summoned by some neighbors. We find out her name is Melissa and she is seven years old. Her mother abandoned her and her father is not able to provide the food she needs. She is literally starving to death. Later on, in desperation, I called my mother in tears, telling her about the little girl I met. She reassured me to do what ever it took to save this little girl, no matter what. So the next morning we went to where she lives, finding her sitting all alone once again, we asked her father, John, if we could take her to the doctor, he picked her up and to the doctor we went. Phillip, John, Melissa and I piled into the doctor’s office. There the doctor asked John questions.

Melissa was born a healthy baby, no health problems or complications. But due to a lack of food and nourishment her development and growth was stunted. Malnutrition caused mental and physical retardation. She can’t speak, her only words are papa, her cry is a high-pitched whimper, and she is too weak to walk on her own. Never have I seen what a lack of nutrition can do to someone’s development. Born into such poverty, the father talked of nights she slept outside in the cold. To ease the hunger pains the father admitted to giving her alcohol because that was so cheap and all there was. The doctor said she is an extreme case of malnutrition and the best thing to do is to get her into a facility where she will be taken care of and fed. He said that this is a social problem more than anything, and for her long term health it was best to get her out of her father’s care since he isn’t able to provide and into a children’s home where she can get nursed back to health. When those words were translated into Swahili for the father to understand I watched as tears welt up in his eyes and ran down his face. I will never forget the look of pure, hopeless desperation on that father’s face. This was not my purpose. I did not want to separate the child from her father. My mind and heart was racing in that doctor’s office. My heart was torn. Do we take this little girl from the only thing she has, her father who she loves to make sure she is fed and won’t starve to death? But in this facility will she feel love from the staff? Which is more important, food or love? Although it clearly pained him, the father said he is willing to give his child up so she can be taken care of and nursed back to health. It wouldn’t be permanent, but until she recovers and the father can come for her when he can show he can provide for her.

The doctor said that although she probably will never be 100% better because she is so far behind in development, with proper care and nutrition she will definitely improve. But my God is the ultimate Healer and Provider and nothing is impossible for Him! After the doctor’s visit I invited them to come eat some of our lunch. I loaded up rice on a plate and a banana and gave it to the man. He sat his daughter on the ground and put the plate in front of her. I will never forget the way that little one grabbed that food and continually shoved it into her mouth with her little fingers. She devoured the banana and almost the whole plate of rice, until we took it away so she wouldn’t get sick from eating so much. I also prepared a plate for the father and his was gone in a matter of seconds. Clearly neither of them have eaten for days. I went back to talk with the doctor to see how much we owed for the visit. He told me we owe him nothing, and he thanked me for our concern and love for the people of Kenya. Praise God! To satisfy the immediate needs of food and nourishment Phillip and I took John and Melissa shopping for some food. We stopped at a few market stands and the grocery store.

During our walk I wanted John to understand that this wasn’t being done out of pity, that he wasn’t just a charity case, but it was because of the love of Jesus. Everything was Jesus. Jesus loves him so much and wants him and his daughter taken care of. Once we got all of the food, fruits and vegetables and supplies they would need for a while, we walked back to his house. I had sweet Melissa in my arms as we walked, and she just rested her little head on my shoulder. You could tell she didn’t see the outside world much, as she was scared of the people on bikes and occasional cars that would go by. People stared and gawked at us walking, and I just cradled her in my arms and covered her head with my hand, trying to show that she was ok and safe in my arms. We got to his house and he invited me in because he wanted me to pray for him. I walk in to his house, a mud hut, all that fit in it was a spring bed frame with some ripped up foam pieces on it and a tiny walking space in between the length of the bed and the wall. The smallest room/house I have ever seen.

When we were in the house I asked him what he wanted prayer for. Phillip told me he wants to know and experience this Jesus mentioned earlier. So there in his little room of a house I walked him through prayer and he confessed to wanting and needing Jesus as tears built up in his eyes and ran down his face. He is coming to church on Sunday and on Friday we are bringing him a bible! Amidst the tragedies, the poverty, these heart wrenching situations I DECLARE that my God is good, He is faithful, He is sovereign, He is Love, He is compassionate, He cares, and He works all things for good. Today His son came home. And tomorrow is in His hands. We don’t know what to do, but God knows exactly the right steps to take. God reveal your will for us and your will for your precious daughter. Please keep Melissa and John in your prayers. God bless you.

3 Comments »

  • chris said:

    I read this on martha’s page… and I can’t think about this little girl without weeping. What an opportunity you have Jenn… what an opportunity we all have… to just love people. thanks for your heart, it continually inspires me.

  • Christy said:

    No words. There are just no words.

    Praying for John and Melissa. And all those who are in the same situation.

  • Jennifer Mitchell » Blog Archive » Covered in Dust said:

    [...] Bishop Emmanuel.  The poverty.  The children. Leading Muslims to Jesus.  The Hospital visits.  Melissa.  Worshipping on top of the mountain.  Door to door evangelism.  The VBS.  Bibles. Preaching [...]

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