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Do We Care?

The mother was crying when we found her with her baby boy. His labored breath was frightening. His pulse was too weak to find without the help of a stethoscope. It was there, but oh, so slow.

I held the child wondering if each breath would be his last. I wondered how I would feel if he were my own. We tried to call for the plane—but no one heard us. Finally a national medic heard our call for help and responded. He could offer medical guidance, but he also lived in a remote village and couldn’t get in contact with a plane. We felt the isolation of living several hours by small plane from civilization. We prayed. We did all the medic instructed us to do—and yet the child still died. He just didn’t have the strength to keep on fighting.

Our hearts ached for the mother and grandmother as we told them. They began to wail. The husband and father of the child wasn’t even there with his wife to comfort her. He’d already made a canoe while the child was yet an infant, knowing this would cause the baby to die. The mother knew it was the father’s fault that the baby had died. She blamed him.

That’s crazy you say. Babies don’t die because their father made a canoe. Maybe not, but they believed this. How do you comfort them? Is there any comfort? How would you feel if your husband knowingly did something that you believed resulted in the death of your child? How would you feel if the very act of touching your dead child’s body for that one last time made you “unclean” for months to come?

The spiritual darkness they lived in was so obvious. You couldn’t miss it. Our hearts bled for them. You couldn’t help but care.

We’re Stateside now, and still we find ourselves surrounded by spiritual darkness. It’s so obvious. You can’t miss it. But do people care?

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