Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Imagine No Malaria-Lenten Devotion Day 8: February 20


Wednesday, February 20, 2013: Hope 

Romans 8:24-25 “Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” 

On a journey through West Africa, I was left with an a-typical loss for words to describe the depth of the experience. 

In Côte d’Ivoire, I visited schools in rural communities where there is no water. Fetching water, a responsibility of the young girls in a family, is a task that can take hours each day. When the family is faced with the choice of having water or sending a daughter to school, the decision is simple: the family needs water. A well can make all the difference. 

In Liberia, I saw the amazing work of the Camphor and Ganta missions, where health care is being delivered in the most limited conditions. I had the privilege of meeting the traditional birth attendants (TBA) at the Camphor mission. Mothers-to-be in rural villages entrust their prenatal care to the TBAs, and each day, they deliver their babies into the hands of these dedicated women. The incidence of problematic deliveries has been reduced in the villages thanks to the TBAs. 

In Guinea, I visited a small clinic supported by the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) that is the only hope for those who suffer from malaria, HIV/AIDS, and other diseases of poverty. Similarly, in Sierra Leone’s Kissy Hospital and the Manjama clinic, life-giving care is provided to the people of a war-ravaged country. 

It is difficult to find words to adequately respond to the sight of a baby gasping for breath as she struggles with malaria and pneumonia. Or of the child lying in bed whose life is being cut so short by tuberculosis. Or of the man in a wheelchair who lost his leg to leprosy. It is hard to find words…. But in each of the places I visited, I knew I was a privileged witness to hope. 
My trip to West Africa was a long one, but I measured it in more than distance or days; I measure it in hope. As I held the baby gasping for breath and prayed for the young boy dying from tuberculosis, it became clear to me that this was not a journey that required words, it was a spiritual journey. It was a journey of love and of possibilities for a new future. It was a journey of hope. 

Prayer: Gracious and holy God, it is often difficult for us to see hope in situations that appear hopeless. Our human eyes do not allow us to see life as you see it. It is only when we see life through our eyes of faith that we catch a glimmer of hope that only comes from you. Give us eyes to see the world through eyes of faith and hearts to love as you would want us to love. Amen. 

Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey, Louisiana Conference 

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