“Death is swallowed up in victory.
Oh death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
1 Corinthians 15:55
As I’ve write less than years past, it seems I am always posting a mixed bag of stories, of emotions. I yearn to just record joys and encouraging stories. But, life is life. When I have the space to write, it also gives me mental processing time and the unresolved parts of my life rise to the surface, so death of the loved and the young bubble up. In the following stories, I am not making judgement on these souls.
Death, for the redeemed in Jesus, has no lasting sting, the grave cannot hold us. Death wins for those without saving faith in Christ.
This morning, hanging clothes out on the line, I prayed for our local orphanage and the kids there. Sister Isabela sent me a text, Elias, the oldest boy at the orphanage, died. She asked for prayers for the other children, already having so much loss in their young lives as they grieve a “big brother”. He was HIV positive and it caused a stroke about 3 years ago, but he kept smiling his lopsided smile and limping along beside the others. He was the DJ and they were the dancers.
Milkay, the mom of three with cancer who we have been helping get to Addis for chemo treatments, she came over this week. I hadn’t seen her since the phone call that left me reeling and unsure how to process. She entered our gate covered from head-to-toe in the black clothes of mourning. We sat down and I asked more details. While she was in Addis (we were also there), at the only place in the country where she can get chemotherapy, Milkay received a phone call that her 11-year old daughter was sick. Her daughter died the next day. Milkay was not able to make it back for the funeral. Milkay and I have plans to visit her grave on Monday. She still has cancer, has two other children, no husband and a dead daughter.
Death, stop winning!
Sunday was our Easter. Thursday and Friday nights, I have sat out in our yard, under the stars, wrapped in blankets, among our neighbors, friends and strangers, praying as we watched “The Jesus Film” that God would open blind eyes to His salvation, He would turn hearts of stone into hearts of flesh. I see it there as the projector shines brightly on the large white tarp. I see Him defeat death, the gloriously empty tomb, the ultimate life-giver, Jesus, raising again. Through tears this morning, I speak outloud, ”I am hopeful. There is Christ!”. Nothing limits our sovereign God. Thank you to those who prayed with us for these nights of viewing. A quick update is going out to those on our newsletter list with details.
Starting on Saturday night, we are graciously folded into the cultural celebration of Easter. We will eat far more lamb than we want but have opportunities to share life intimately with our neighbors. Pray with us for clear language and these beautiful hearts. (And strong stomachs…) We will have multiple hut invites a day until the meat runs out. The hard part of this is that there is no refrigeration and so we eat meat butchered on Sunday until Wednesday or Thursday.
At Yeshi’s house and at Tafera’s, as they are town homes, we were served a chicken stew, instead of the countryside lamb.
“The sting of death is sin, and the power of sins the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory though our Lord Jesus Christ.”
1 Corinthians 15:56 & 57