Friday, April 24, 2015

A Time for Everything

As the month of April quickly slips away I am conscious of the familiar words from Ecclesiastes.
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot
a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance...
This month has been a particularly vivid time of contrast as our community weeps with those who weep and rejoices with those who rejoice.

A time to mourn...
Two weeks ago we lost a precious 'treasure' from our special needs class who had been cared for at our centre for four years.  My girls, along with the staff of the special needs program grieved the loss of Carol deeply.  For me the most hopeful sign was the testimony of Carol's father at a memorial that was held on site.  He spoke of the challenges of seeking to care for Carol when his wife ran away, and the lessons he learned from our staff on how he needed to be with his child as much as possible to bond with her.  Her condition required care he was unable to provide and yet it was beautiful to watch the way in which this man faithfully did his best to visit, care for and interact with his daughter.  It was an example of true partnership in the best interests of a child.  His commitment and testimony bring hope that long lasting change in how people with disabilities are viewed in the community is possible.

Two weeks ago we were privileged to visit a village church led by Pastor Paul who was one of the first orphans cared for by New Hope.  What was especially exciting was to see another of our boys from here preach his first sermon.  As we listened to Wilbur speak from John 1 to a gathering of village people our hearts warmed. "The Word became flesh..."  As we joined in the enthusiastic worship it was indeed a time to rejoice. 

This past week our hearts were heavy again as we learned that one of staff members who has been battling cancer for over a year is once again facing its return.  The options are limited and as we see the pain in the faces of her husband and seven children we long for healing. A time to weep and yet it is not without hope because she is in the hands of Him who knows the end from the beginning.

And that brings us to tomorrow and the upcoming wedding of one of the special needs staff.
 "A time to dance..."
 Auntie Christine first came to New Hope to care for Carol and as she leaves to start her new married life we marvel at God's timing.  The day before she died little Carol was at a party to celebrate the upcoming wedding.  At one point during the afternoon I wiped a tear away from Carol's face as she was held in the arms of one of her wonderful caregivers.  The next day I remembered that moment and longed for the day when all our tears will be wiped away and we will sit down at the marriage supper of the Lamb.  While we wait we are so thankful we know the One who has ordered all our times.

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