July 27, 2018
I met Fransisca last week but had heard about her for several months. Her niece works for us so I knew that she had been sick for some time. We prayed for her often in our morning devotions. She was in her late thirty's and had 8 children, the littlest one only 3 years old. But last week she got worse and her niece asked if we could go to see her.
Her family lives in a village almost to the top of one of the mountains near us so when I announced that we were going, all the nurses and the student interns that are with us this summer wanted to go. We loaded up the truck and took off in the afternoon after clinic. Everyone loves to get out so there was lots of laughter as we bumped our way up the horrible dirt road.
Their two room adobe house was perched on the side of the mountain with the most amazing view of the valley. Francisca was inside, unable to get out of bed. She was so thin and her lungs sounded horrible. As we talked with her, we realized that she had tuberculosis. The government here has a program to care for those with TB - they provide all the medication and exams for free. The problem is that the system is...slow, at best. And Fransisca did not want to leave her family for treatment which would have required weeks in the hospital.
We talked with her, left some food and medication - which would not cure anything. She allowed us to pray for her but she did not want to accept the offer of salvation without the consent of her husband, who was not there. So we left. I was frustrated by our inability to do more for her and her refusal of treatment and more importantly, salvation.
Sunday evening she died.
As I feebly tried to give words of comfort to her niece yesterday, she shared with me how the day after we left, a pastor had come by to pray for her and that she and her husband had prayed together, accepting this very great gift we have been given, of salvation and the hope of eternal life. So while we are all grieved that her children will grow up without their mother, we rejoice, knowing that she is whole and happy, sitting at the feet of Jesus!
Jesus said, "already the reaper is receiving his wages and he is gathering fruit for eternal life; so that he who plants and he who reaps may rejoice together. For in this case the saying is true, 'One [person] sows and another reaps.' " John 4:36-37
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