She was the closest to death of anyone I have ever visited.
I don't have many "sad" days here in Africa anymore… truly, the Joy of the Lord has given us great strength to deal and cope with what we see around us. But today started out as one of those "OH NO" days.
A friend called and said "you must go visit lindiwe at her house-she is not well". Lindiwe is a mother of 4 beautiful kiddos, and is about 40 years old. You can tell by her features that she was a very attractive woman. I knocked on the door, and didn't hear anything, so I walked in. She was laying on a rickety couch and couldn't even lift her head or make a sound. I explained that I came to check on her and pray with her. She tried to smile, but still could not speak. We prayed, and asked the Lord to give her strength and healing. About 5 minutes later, she sat up, a bit of a confused look in her eye, but spoke English to me and said "I took my tablets but can't eat and swallow foods". You see, Lindiwe has AIDS, it is extremely advanced and her frail body is just skin and bones, maybe 70 lbs. I asked her if she could swallow porridge or yogurt…she smiled. Quick batch of porridge and we visited briefly. She said "I really want to bath"(it had obviously been quite some time since she washed herself). I (mitch) explained that I could not help her with that, but would find someone to help. I immediately rushed to each of the neighbors and asked. They were met with shock as a white man was at their door, and didn't feel comfortable helping her in that way. One neighbor said she would make porridge for her each day to take her tablets(ARV's are the drugs you take for HIV/AIDS-but you MUST eat with them).
I thanked the neighbor and went to our friends- the cooks at the church about 2 miles away. I asked them if they knew anyone we could get to help Lindiwe. She doesn't have much time left this side of heaven.
JUST BY CHANCE(Yeah right!)... The cooks pointed across the street and said "There are 4 in home careworkers meeting right now". With shock on my face, I went across the soccer field and interrupted their meeting. I explained (as best I could in siswatti and then English) that we have a friend with desperate need. The ladies immediately stopped what they were doing, chatted and one of them knew of her! Fekile(one of the workers) said "take me to her now", so we did. We walked back into her house and made introductions. Fekile said that she would remain and help her and continue to visit her consistently to ensure she was cared for.
Praising God tonight as we see His great hand in every aspect of African life. We know Lindiwe will soon be home with Him, and that He even has a plan that we needn't worry about for her children's future.