Today we traveled with Neatness as she visited her father’s grave for the first time. In the process we were honored to be able to witness the reunion of family members who have not seen or spoken to each other in many years. The trip highlighted the importance of how children whose parent/parents has/have died need guidance, support and counseling while they work through and process their loss.
The journey to the homestead was on dusty, windy, sometimes rocky roads that wound through the hilly Zimbabwean countryside. Every so often sitting among the hills were massive, breathtaking rock structures. From a distance these huge rocks looked solid and secure, but the closer we approached, many of of the rocks looked precariously placed one on top of another. But nature perfectly formed and balanced these rocks. They were so striking you couldn’t help but take a picture to admire and be in awe of God’s creation.
After arriving at the homestead and exchanging formal greetings, we were led just outside the border of the family property. All along this border were mounds of unmarked stones. Passing by several, the group stopped at one and we were informed that this one was the grave of Neatness’ father. Her father died six years ago of HIV/AIDs. At the time of her father’s death, her mother, who is also HIV positive, was sick and in the hospital. As a result, Neatness, her mother, nor any of her brothers and sisters were able to be with her father when he died. Prior to today, none of Neatness’ family members were able to visit his grave.
While we stood in front of her father’s grave, mourning with this family, our beloved Forgotten Voices Spiritual Director, Fibion, reminded the family that while we are sad and while we grieve, their husband and father was not under those stones. Rather, he was alive and present with our Father in Heaven. Let us rejoice in the hope we have been given because of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Standing in front of this small unmarked pile of man-assembled stones, I reflected on the contrast of the vastness of the nature-assembled stones I had witnessed an hour earlier. With one, I was struck with awe by the depth and vastness of our God. With the other, I was struck by the smallness and personal nature of God, that he would descend upon this earth to save each and every one of us. Both are worthy of our praise. Afterall as we read in
Luke 19:38-40 ”Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest! Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
May we remember to lift up in prayer Neatness, and the many other orphaned children in Zimbabwe, throughout all of Africa and around the world. As we do, be encouraged of both the vastness and smallness of our God, that God cares for each and every one of them and has the power to transform their hearts and lives.
Volunteer Kids Serving Kids Coordinator
Tags: #FVAfrica, death, HIV/AIDS, hope, neatness, Travels in Africa, zimbabwe
Filed under: General Blog, Travel Blog