We have never had so much nearly-continuous illness, but it's really no surprise that we do. So very many people come in from the village and bush and touch our babies with unwashed hands (including hands that have just wiped their own noses without tissues and are trying to be helpful by wiping our kids' noses too without tissues). It's not a matter of me "letting" this happen. People just come in through the gate and onto our porch, or they lean over the gate to shake hands with all the kids. There is no sense of "I am sick and the babies are sick, therefore now is not a good time for me to ask for all five babies to be lined up and photographed with me." I think maybe it's because sickness is just so common and ever-present here? As I've said before, the majority of rural people don't have running water or toilet paper. They come from near and far to see the wonder of the quints - and truly, they are a head-shaking, exclamation-provoking wonder to everyone around here, which is really sweet and special. I HATE to discourage them coming to praise God with us, truly, but I am so conflicted about how to best protect these little ones!
Meanwhile, even my poor Papua New Guinean cleaning lady is greatly frustrated by the rapidity with which others spread their illnesses to our babies. As she pointed out, THEY aren't the ones dealing with overflowing diapers and laundry! They just love our kids and want to touch them, as is the culture here, and so many of the impromptu visitors have prayed for these little ones since they heard I was pregnant with them. In a sense, they are "communal" babies.
God never promised we'd never be sick, or that we'd always be "safe" by the world's standards. We certainly didn't come to the mission field in search of an easy life. We love the simplicity of life here, but simplicity does not equal ease. Simplicity involves hanging out every load of laundry to dry. The sun is a good germ-killer anyway, so that's a good thing - but time-consuming!
Meanwhile, it's challenging to be sick oneself and to be dealing with all the products of our children's two different kinds of illness. It's already extra hard to have colds and runny noses and desperate diapers all at the same time. But when I urgently need a tissue myself, ache all over, or have to run to the bathroom in the midst of their pressing needs, it does feel like we're hanging on by a thread. I know we're not, though, or I wouldn't be writing this blog post with Gracie on my lap. I'd be in a fetal position on the floor, sobbing. ;) Which would NOT do any one of us any good!
So this is Gavin's way of wording the basic point of this post: "Please pray continuously for the health of our children!" I would add "Lord willing" (he would too). I also think of the Apostle Paul's thorn in the flesh, how God didn't take it away but instead promised His grace would be sufficient for Paul (2 Corinthians 12). Yesterday God's sufficient gracious provision included some teenage babysitters who showed up out of the blue yesterday afternoon when I was starting to wonder how I could possibly get the nap I desperately needed to fight my own illness when all my babies were also sick and needy. Our Father is so very kind to us!
A huge praise is that I wasn't really sick until Friday night, when Gavin was already home for the weekend. That was a gracious mercy of God! So are our many friends here, several of whom I can call with an SOS message. I just hate to infect the "Quint Response Team" with our illnesses. :}
There's a reason I felt so burdened to work in Community Health here starting way back in the mid-2000's. My "community" is a lot smaller now, but the same issues we dealt with in the villages are definitely affecting our little crew. It gives me lots of empathy for those who don't have such ready access to the Clinic or pain relievers. I also keep thinking of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. DO NOT COMPLAIN, CARRIE!
Love and gratitude for your prayers and for helping us bear this burden - a light and momentary trouble in the grand scheme of things, truly!
|David is so comfortable with Jason that he crawled up into his chair. Will likes to have two cups if possible. Marcie is reading the book in the corner of the couch, her legs on a little friend.|