For the last several days I have been very sick. At first we thought it might be Chikungunya virus, but there wasn’t as much bone and joint pain as fever, vomiting, and diarrhea that quickly dehydrated me to the point of skin and bones. The headache and fever were relentless. When I closed my eyes, flashes of light in my head would keep me awake and make it difficult to sleep….so I would stare at the ceiling and wait for the next violent wave of sickness to hit. I eventually made my bed on the floor of the bathroom because my legs were too weak to carry me back and forth. As soon as the sickness had reached a point where there was clearly nothing else left to leave my body and I could stay put for a little while, Tony began the IV therapy. He took down our mosquito net and used the hook in the ceiling to hang the bags of fluid. He twisted a clothes hanger to hang from the hook so the bags would be at the proper height, then he inserted the IV. My body was so dry and fragile that the stick was very painful, but my husband is a good doctor and a gentile doctor, and I was soon receiving the fluids I needed to bounce back.
Today I am much better. I still have a headache, but now it feels more like the headache you get from being in bed too much. I’m ready to see the faces that go with the laughter outside my window. I’m sad because I missed the departure of a team that quickly became friends, and I’m losing time with the new team that arrived here yesterday. All I know of them is a mixture of voices. I hoping to get out to meet them this evening.
Today is Sunday, a special day in our village, and my heart is overwhelmed. I can hear the music drifting faintly through the air as our brothers and sisters worship a loving God together. I wish I were there. To pass the time, I open Facebook. As I read through so many comments of encouragement and prayers, my heart begins to swell and tears spill out over my face. I’m alone in the house, but I feel the presence of many. God has blessed us with so many amazing, genuine friends. I am thankful for every single one of you who have prayed and given me encouragement. It’s simply more than I can handle right now without crying.
It has been an extra special day today because God has also reminded me of new friends. Friends who can’t post on the internet but want to share their love and concern all the same. It started with Bicly coming to check on me before church, followed by Djeny who asked Tony after church if she could come see me. Her sweet smile lit up the room. Then there was her father Makil with Jilliene & Wilsaint who prayed and sang over me. Their creole song was medicine to my heart, Next was Marie Therese and Vierge who encouraged me to eat. They kissed my cheek and made me laugh. Then there was Johnny with his sunglasses propped on his head checking on me before going to work with the chickens. Then came Martha….
Martha is our eldest neighbor. At 84 she could run circles around any of us. She immediately said it was too cold in here! No wonder I’m sick! Ha! I explained that Americans are too used to air conditioning. She said she missed me at church and told me I need a bath. Martha can tell a person anything and it comes across as intended – with love and concern – grandmotherly advice. Vladimir & Tony step in the room and her demeanor changes slightly. She’s peppier and leans towards them with a sassy tilt in her head when she talks. She’s playful. Men love Martha. Everyone loves Martha. They hand her a sack of fresh eggs and she lifts her arms in the air and does the “Madam Martha Dance.” “Mesi Jezi!!” She cries. She praises God for the provision of food for the day. We smile with her.
Now my door is closed again and I go back to hearing the faceless voices, busy preparing for the week at Hope Center, outside my window. I feel more energy coming on after taking the cooks’ advice and eating a little. I think I’ll take Martha’s advice next and shower.
I laid down four days ago in pain and misery. I rise now with Hope of new strength and a heart so full of love it could burst. Do you know how much I love you? Let me take this chance to say it: I love you and I thank you for being my friend…my brother, my sister, my encourager, my prayer warrior, my precious gift from God. We serve a mighty, loving savior who gives us strength and courage and provision to face everything we encounter each day.
I think I will go shower now…and I just might do the “Madam Martha Dance.”
Mesi Jezi pou remen mwen, epi pou zami qui remen mwen too!
(Thank you Jesus for loving me, and for friends who love me too)