You are weak but He is strong.

He lays on the bed, his limbs tighten, bending in ways they shouldn’t bend, his jaw stuck open and I look at  my watch to time his seizures. I turn him onto his side and I stare into his eyes. I beg to Jesus, Make it stop.

In between seizures, I wash his soiled clothes in the basin next to his bed. He can’t understand me, but I still talk to him. I apologize because I’m not very good at hand-washing clothes but I’m trying.

Another seizure starts and I go to his side, caress his arm and sing “Jesus Loves You” choking on the words, “You are weak but He is strong.”

Hours pass before he is seen by a nurse or doctor and my frustrations grow greater. He hasn’t had his anti-seizure medication yet and they haven’t run any tests on him to find out what’s wrong with him. I start to judge the doctors, thinking they have no compassion for this boy.

I ask a nurse for help and I’m quickly humbled. She’s busy taking care of a dead body. She isn’t lacking compassion. She’s taking care of the hundred other dying children in the ward. It’s not their fault there are not enough nurses and doctors.

The seizures continue. More begging to Jesus, Save him, save your child. He slips in and out of consciousness.

He smiles often in his unconsciousness. I’d like to think he’s having good dreams. Dreaming of heaven, of Jesus’ face.

The doctor come and examines him. Everyone asks the same questions.
Who is his caretaker?      I am.
Where are his parents?      I don’t know.
How old is he?      I’m not sure, maybe 13?
Where does he live?      At “M1.” He was picked up off the streets.
What is his medical history?      I don’t know.
Does he talk?      He did on Monday.

Monday, the day Kelsey and I met R. Kelsey spotted him while we were at M1. He couldn’t stand on his own and walked very slowly. The staff at M told us he was mentally ill. Kelsey and I walked him to the room where we have worship. He stood next to us clapping along and holding our hands during Fred’s sermon. Then I heard his small voice whispering, repeating Fred’s prayer to God. Moments later we were in the car on the way to the hospital.

Now, I feel helpless as he convulses again, repeating the only Lugandan word I know: Yesu. Yesu. Yesu. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus.

Children are dying all around us, three died in one night, five the next dayI watch his chest rise and fall, checking for signs of life. I call his name and he turns his head and opens his eyes to look at me. Hope rises in me again.

Kelsey comes to take my place at the hospital and we put on worship music for R to listen to.

I can see the light that is coming for the heart that holds on,
And there will be an end to these troubles but until that day comes,
Still I will praise You, still I will praise You.

I head for home, leaving Kelsey behind to take the night shift, which she graciously offered to do. The power is out but I don’t mind. I lie in bed singing, Still I will praise You. Still I will praise You.
***This was written yesterday. R is still at the hospital, still waiting to have tests run. Please continue to pray for him and for the rest of the Sixty Feet staff as we take turns to be with him.

4 thoughts on “You are weak but He is strong.

  1. I don't know you but I know R. I held him in my arms while the other kids played and worshipped this summer on a Visiting Orphans trip. He was feverish and weak and broke my heart. Thank you for your love and ministry to him. We are praying.

  2. Sweet child of God! Tears are flowing! A small group of us from VO visited M2&3 in July. I didn't know while there, but recently read that some of the children have epilepsy. I have epilepsy and am even more heartbroken than when I went there. Mine is well controlled with meds 2x daily, however 2 days ago I completely forgot my evening dose which hasn't happened in years. The next morning I had seizure after seizure and felt completely helpless. I couldn't take care of my son. I cried out to God to make the seizures stop and for my meds to kick in! I thought of the beautiful children at these remand homes with little or no treatment. I wish there was something I could do. I am praying for them and for you! Thank you for caring for them! I long to go back!

  3. Kirby, you do not know me, but I have been following your blog and praying for you and Kelsey and all the others. The Lord has captured my heart for this work He is doing through Sixty Feet. My heart aches and breaks and I weep and I praise the Lord all at the same time as I read this post. For the hope he has in Jesus even in the terror of these seizures – how can one not praise Him. The Lord thy God is with thee.
    Stephanie O'Donnell, NB Canada

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