Grieving in Community

We had a lovely family Christmas at home, relishing the age our children are at where everything is magical and delightful.

The day after Christmas we were awakened by an early morning phone call, and Isaac rushed our neighbor and her one-year old daughter to the hospital, and was with them there when the daughter passed away an hour and a half later. We shed a lot of tears that day and the next, especially every time the family broke out into the weeping and wailing lament that the Hatam do to show their grief. Every day we would see their family loving on that sweet little girl from our window, and seeing the mother grieve the loss of ther daughter was utterly heartbreaking. Will you pray with us for these precious neighbors of ours?

It's actually the third death close to us this year. Our former helper drowned at a pool, our friend from church died of uncontrolled diabetes complications just after she turned 40, and now our little neighbor girl, after having a high fever for 24-hours. We find ourselves faced with disease and death far more often here than we were when living in the USA. Of course, the whole world has joined us in this because of COVID this year. Our hearts ache, though, when we see the impact of poor medical care on the people and community we love here. We have a clinic here on campus and are hoping for a doctor or nurse to come and serve here. The medical needs are real, and we feel that helping the local church meet the medical needs of the community is one way we can be the hands and feet of Jesus here. Will you pray that a doctor or nurse would come to join us in ministry here? And if you know of anyone who might fit the bill, please send them our way!

It is hard but also beautiful to gather with our community to mourn the death of our little neighbor. Psalm after psalm give us an example of how to lement and bring our grief to the Lord, and the open grief of the Hatam people feels heartbreaking but healthy to enter into. Our tears flow freely and our children wonder and learn that it is okay to weep for the brokenness of the world, to surround the hurting, and to hold on to the hope we have in Jesus. We sang together, in Indonesian hymns and Hatam chant, about the promise of resurrection, and being together with the Lord one day. We all cling to these promises and are so thankful that we grieve with hope.

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