Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Wind and the Waves

I wish you could all be here with us in Mango. Not because I would put you to work (although I probably would!) but because writing about life here is sometimes just as disappointing as standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon and taking a picture with your phone. As you try and share your experience through the small photo, everyone around you nods in delight but you know they can't actually grasp what you saw in person.

That's because beauty comes from the movement of your soul, not the image before your eyes.

The Hospital of Hope is beauty--not because the tiles are shiny and the equipment is new, but because the hundreds of stories taking place inside every day stir your soul. Sometimes that stirring is joy and hope, and other times it's crushing.

We have had four deaths in the hospital so far, and all have come out of Pediatrics--severe malaria in a 2 and 4 year old, a newborn born several hours away who had gone too long without oxygen, and our first infant born via C-Section who was diagnosed with a irreparable congenital heart defect hours later.

It doesn't take much for discouragement to try and overtake you after spending a full 24 hours working, praying, pleading for the life of another person only to lose the battle. I've thought to myself more than once this week, "how can I welcome this woman to the Hospital of Hope when she just lost her only child on my watch?"

I've actually been through this before, after moving to Togo for the first time in 2012--Death, discouragement, doubt.

I told a family that their new baby boy, hours old, would only survive a few more hours due to a heart that wasn't formed right. I openly struggled to get through a prayer for them afterwards. Tears from fatigue and disappointment were unstoppable. Afterwards, the family told me that is was God who decided for it to be this way. I took a moment to figure out who was comforting who.

As I walked away, I approached our new, young 17 year-old mother of premature twin girls. Life was passing from one room and entering into the other. I sat and held one of the twins for a few moments in amazement of God's grace on this young mom and these tiny girls.  The juxtaposition was almost too much to take in and I walked outside to breathe in some cool night air. The 3am night sky was still as I sought peace that could only come from the Lord.

Moments later a strong wind came through for only about a minute, then calmed. The lyrics to a beautiful song immediately came to me:
So let go my soul and trust in Him. The waves and wind still know His name. 

When Jesus stilled the storm from within the boat as he traveled with the disciples, they saw Him next to them, but they couldn't fix their eyes on the power that was before them.

Death can feel like an inescapable power that is ever before me here. An enemy that always wins at some point. But there isn't one life that passes into or out of this world without the word of the Lord, and it's beautiful. It's all beautiful.

I praise the Lord for letting me be here to see it all, to be moved by it all. Pray for me as I breathe it all in. Please pray for all of us here, whose purpose and joy is to bring the message that Christ has conquered death, and he is longing for all to pass from death into life.

**Song mentioned is by Bethel- It is Well, Album: You Make me Brave**


  1. Absolutely beautiful Kelly! We're praying for you all constantly as you face the well-known struggles of medicine in Togo but with the added burden of a new hospital. May I also recommend the song "Sovereign Over Us" by Aaron Keyes...

  2. Good morning, how are you?

    My name is Emilio, I am a Spanish boy and I live in a town near to Madrid. I am a very interested person in knowing things so different as the culture, the way of life of the inhabitants of our planet, the fauna, the flora, and the landscapes of all the countries of the world etc. in summary, I am a person that enjoys travelling, learning and respecting people's diversity from all over the world.

    I would love to travel and meet in person all the aspects above mentioned, but unfortunately as this is very expensive and my purchasing power is quite small, so I devised a way to travel with the imagination in every corner of our planet. A few years ago I started a collection of used stamps because trough them, you can see pictures about fauna, flora, monuments, landscapes etc. from all the countries. As every day is more and more difficult to get stamps, some years ago I started a new collection in order to get traditional letters addressed to me in which my goal was to get at least 1 letter from each country in the world. This modest goal is feasible to reach in the most part of countries, but unfortunately, it is impossible to achieve in other various territories for several reasons, either because they are very small countries with very few population, either because they are countries at war, either because they are countries with extreme poverty or because for whatever reason the postal system is not functioning properly.

    For all this, I would ask you one small favour:
    Would you be so kind as to send me a letter by traditional mail from Togo? I understand perfectly that you think that your blog is not the appropriate place to ask this, and even, is very probably that you ignore my letter, but I would call your attention to the difficulty involved in getting a letter from that country, and also I don’t know anyone neither where to write in Togo in order to increase my collection. a letter for me is like a little souvenir, like if I have had visited that territory with my imagination and at same time, the arrival of the letters from a country is a sign of peace and normality and an original way to promote a country in the world. My postal address is the following one:

    Emilio Fernandez Esteban
    Avenida Juan de la Cierva, 44
    28902 Getafe (Madrid)

    If you wish, you can visit my blog www.cartasenmibuzon.blogspot.com where you can see the pictures of all the letters that I have received from whole World.

    Finally, I would like to thank the attention given to this letter, and whether you can help me or not, I send my best wishes for peace, health and happiness for you, your family and all your dear beings.

    Yours Sincerely

    Emilio Fernandez