Updated: Nov 25, 2018
2012 was the most difficult year of my (Mindy’s) adult life. In January, my Grandmother passed away. In June, my mom passed away. At the beginning of September, we left our two sons in the USA for college and returned to Mozambique with our sixteen-year-old daughter, Baylea. In late September, an unforeseen visa issue delayed our return to Mozambique, where our daughter was scheduled to start her Junior year of high school. Unable to make up for the lost time in school, Baylea’s only choice to complete high school, was an online program.
The last half of 2012, drug our daughter through the wringer. She grieved the death of her two Grandmothers. She missed her brothers. She missed her friends from school. She missed being able to live a “normal” sixteen-year-old life: driving, playing sports, and having fun with friends. Day after day, week after week, month after month, Baylea was home with me, while Lance resumed our responsibilities as missionaries.
We sort of bumped along through the process of grief together. The impact of compound losses during that time, cloaked our once vibrant lives with a strange, dark, shadowy existence. Some days were good, others – not so much.
During this time, Baylea and I sensed a growing compassion for Mozambique’s burgeoning population of street boys. (Photo Above) We decided to get involved, by helping with a ministry provided by one of our local Assemblies of God churches. Baylea and I helped the boys with learning basic reading, writing and math skills. The boys ranged in age, from nine to about twenty-two. Many did not recognize their letters and numbers. I will never forget the day I worked with a twenty-year-old young man, helping him learn how to write his own name. The common bond the boys shared, was life on the streets. The stories of their young lives revealed more pain than most of us can fathom.
In November of that year, torrential rains fell in Maputo, making life on the streets increasingly dangerous and miserable. Day after day, we prayed for the rain to subside, but the rain just seemed to fall harder and faster.
In the middle of a downpour, on Thanksgiving day, 2012, Baylea woke up in the early morning hours with a stiff neck, severe headache, high fever, rash, and nausea. Her symptoms were consistent with Spinal Meningitis, according to May Clinic’s online resource. *Momentary pause to express how very grateful I am for GOOGLE!
Reliable medical care in Maputo in 2012, was very limited. Lance and I sat beside Baylea, praying for her healing. Nothing mattered more to us, than our little girl’s well-being. But Baylea had a different perspective. She gently challenged, “Pray for the (street) boys. It’s raining hard, and they don’t have anywhere to go. At least we are inside, out of the rain. Pray for them. They need us to pray for them.” We had a time of prayer for the (street) boys asking God to be merciful, to grant them His help, and to cause the rain to subside.
Baylea’s physical condition only worsened, so we took her to the hospital. When we walked in, the smell of urine was overpowering. I felt my gut wrench, as I wondered what other sickness Baylea might come in contact with at the hospital that night. We watched carefully as they started an IV, drew blood, and ordered a battery of tests. The doctor never found the cause of Baylea’s illness.
We are convinced that God healed Baylea that night. As we thanked Him for what we had, and lifted up the needs of the (street) boys who had become so dear to our hearts. God heard and answered the longing of our hearts, and healed our daughter.
We spent Thanksgiving in the hospital that year. When Baylea was discharged, we drove home with overwhelming gratitude to God, and a renewed awareness of his good gifts. It was a Thanksgiving we will never forget. God used our season of sorrow and pain to sensitize us to the suffering of others. And even during our grief, God reminded us of how much we could thank him for. It’s all a matter of our perspective.
Perhaps, this is a time of difficulty and sorrow for you. If so, look for opportunities to re-orient your perspective. It is not easy…not fun…not something to be done casually or half-heartedly. But it is a worthy endeavor that God will honor in ways you never dreamed possible.