Friday, November 11, 2011

What about Sophie?

The day started out like many others for our South African mission team. We travelled a short distance from the church and headed to a neighborhood clinic. Calvin and Debra joined Joyce and I to minister to the sick. A large waiting room was nearly filled with patients and care workers. As usual, Tswana songs of faith started our visit. After prayer and a short message about the compassion of Christ, we layed hands on and prayed for all who asked. As we left the clinic our hearts were filled with joy and love from the South African people and awed by Christ's compassion toward them.

Someone then asked if we could visit a gravely sick person just a few blocks away. Of course we went. Upon entering this shack (tin house) I prepared myself for meeting this person I presumed to be elderly. We were taken through the kitchen into a small living room with a couch. On the couch lay a young child, she looked like a little girl about 5 years old, around 25 lbs.

Her body was tangle up so that the arms and legs were woven together like a handle for a reed basket. Her human shape resembled a ball. Her front teeth all came out at angles. She had large, thoughtful eyes, a slight smile on her face.

Seeing her, something extraordinary happened to me. I fell to my knees beside her on the couch. I tried to control my sobbing and could not. I could feel the hands of Calvin and Debra on my shoulders praying that God would give me strength. I kept praying an incomplete prayer, "Dear Lord...dear Lord..."

I was finally able to ask her name, Sophie, and was told her age was 15 years old. She has been suffering from CP since about 6 months old. For awhile it seemed like there were only two people in that room, Sophie and me... I was holding her bony skinny hand and stroking her head. All I could say was, "Sophie, Sophie, Sophie." Then after a while a few other words came, "Jesus loves you Sophie."

Then Sophie started ministering to me. Her large, expressive brown eyes zeroed right into mine and seemed to tell me, "It's alright, my friend, I'm okay, I feel your love."

There seemed to be a slight movement in her face, a smile. That helped me out. So I prayed for her, as earnestly as I have ever prayed in my life, "Dear Lord. Please take care of Sophie. Hold her in your arms. Give her a special place in heaven."

After a while I was able to get off mt knees and say good-bye to her. Most likely I will never see Sophie again in this life. But that little girl is a memory I will carry in my heart. She stripped humanity down to bare essentials for me. She was a human being, totally dependant on God's mercy just to stay alive. And that seemed enough for her. And you know, it's enough for me too. Sophie will have a new body soon. I will too. God will take care of us. Jesus died for Sophie and for me. I saw Jesus' face in Sophie. And that brought me to my knees.

In God's Love and Peace,

Dan Karnes

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