(repost from February 2016)
|Sita is the lady sitting down with the white outfit.|
When we decided to pack up and head off to Africa, we were told that goodbye would be a big part of our new life. I mostly thought of all of those tearful goodbyes would be those that we would say in the US airport as we left our loving American family and friends. It didn't take too long to realize that wouldn't be the extent of our goodbyes. All of our sudden our lives were filled with colleagues, volunteers and nationals who we would come to love within moments of having met them because of the nature of our partnerships and then send them on their way. We have colleagues that move or serve shorter terms. We have volunteers that completely depend on us for their survival and success in ministry for a week and then must return to their regular life until the next time. We have national friends who live lives that are WAY too short.
That was the case for a friend named Sita. Sita was found by a national brother that had been asked for help in finding good translators for a team while we were in the states. Sita was not one of our usual translators, but was in fact a Muslim. By the providence of God, Sita was placed in a group of evangelists that included my African sister. Anyone that knows Viviane knows that sharing the gospel is her absolute passion. Day after day as American volunteers shared the story of redemption through Jesus Christ, Sita translated it. Day after day as Viviane shared, Sita heard it. By the end of the week, something had changed in Sita. She believed and was ready to commit her life to the One that died for her.
Over the last couple of years, Sita had found her way into the lives of so many here at the mission. She taught French to new personnel, she translated for teams, she came to all of our holiday parties. Sita ate at our tables and she participated in our everyday lives.
While Mike and I were recently on vacation in the states, we got some devastating news. One was that Sita was very sick. She was in the hospital with a terrible illness and she had been badly burned. A couple of days later, we got word that Sita had passed on.
Sadly, this is a reality where we live. Medical care is out of financial reach for so many. People die too young.
Another thing that happened while we were gone was also incredibly devastating. We have prayed so long for colleagues to join us on the field. At the end of December we welcomed a new family to our team. We were so glad to have such a full team with a single career woman, 2 journeygirls and this career family. Unfortunately things didn't work out and before we could return from vacation, the family that had come to work on our team returned to the US.
These are some of the results of the life we have been called to. How comforting it is to know that our Savior never leaves us. He understands our deepest needs, sees our deepest hurts and gives us a joy and a peace beyond anything this world can offer.