I came to this subject following the sudden death of my beloved sister Lillian in childbirth. My sister was only 31 years old, a wife and a mother of three. I received a call at 4am in the morning from my dad in Kenya. Since it is costly to call from Kenya, the conversation was very brief. It went like this, “Hallo,” to which my dad responded, “How are you? Listen Lillian has died.” And the line went dead. With those words, my soul sunk within me, I could not accept that what I just heard but it was hard to argue because it came from my dad. I wrestled with how to even receive the news leave alone respond to it. I struggled with my emotions down stairs before making my way upstairs since I did not want to wake up our son Barak who was in deep sleep. I walked quietly upstairs and knelt by the bedside and whispered to my wife Jessica what had just happened. She climbed out of bed quietly and we went downstairs.
After talking with my wife shortly, I text my colleague pastor Noah and I left to go buy an international calling card at CVS so that I could call dad and find out more information about the situation. Pastor Noah called me back immediately asking whether he could come and be with us or whether we needed some space. I asked him to wait and come sometime in the morning since I wanted to get more information before talking with people who would be asking for more information. I tried calling my dad but could not reach him. Meanwhile I was able to reach my younger brother Jackson who was on his way from the town heading back to the village where the incident took place and did not have much information either.
Before Pastor Noah arrived, I reached my dad and found out that the baby boy had survived and that my sister died suddenly after only pushing once. I also found out that the reason I could not reach dad was because he was trying to ensure that the baby had the care he needed. Dad had traveled with the baby to a Catholic Mission hospital in Migori which is about 10 miles away but failed to secure admission and traveled to another Catholic Mission hospital in the opposite direction also about 10miles from our home where he finally secured admission (I am still not sure whether dad carried the infant on his bicycle or used a taxi)
When Pastor Noah came to our house about 7:30 am, he prayed with me and I told him that Jessica and I had agreed as well as my parents that I should attend my sister’s funeral in Kenya and he assured us that the community would rally around us and ensure that I go back to be with my family in Kenya. We went to church as a family that morning and our congregation rallied around us with prayer and financial giving which enabled me to travel to Kenya the next day Monday. Above are pictures of my brother in-law Kennedy and the girls as well as baby Benard.
On my way to Kenya I spend time in the airplane reading Peter Kreeft’s book entitled “Making Sense out of Suffering.” This book got me thinking deeply about suffering as I was experiencing it in my own life then. The experiences of the week which led us to laying my sister to rest on August 2, 2008 awoke a deep search in my heart as a Christian, husband, father, pastor etc to the reality of God’s involvement in the world. This journey led me to a reflection on “God and healing.”