“No one wakes up praying that God will give them the words to pray over a dying child.” – Jen Gash
Jen spoke these words to me from 7700 miles away as I shared with her the story of Kevin, a 17 year old girl we had met the day before in Gulu, Uganda. Kevin was one of the children our partner, Comboni Samaritan, had rescued from abandonment with AIDS. Kevin was born positive to two parents, both of whom were also positive. She was a total orphan by age 11. Over the years, in the care of an uncle and his wife, Kevin was neglected proper treatment. Like so many HIV positive children in Uganda, Kevin was abandoned with the disease. Many are literally abandoned on the street. In Kevin’s case, food and ARV drugs were withheld, so that she would die sooner.
Comboni Samaritan took Kevin in to their compound five months ago. A food and drug regimen were begun and the organization hired a nurse whose only job was to feed, bathe, and provide medication to Kevin. Though her body was thoroughly ravaged by the disease, Comboni Samaritan knew she was worth it; she was worth the treatment, worth the love, worth the time.
As we were leaving the compound the director, Mossimo asked that we meet this child. As her frail body was wheeled out to us the team stood, eyes fixed on something we had never seen before; something we could never fully understand. I approached her, knelt beside her wheelchair, and simply began to touch her. I brushed her cheek, stroked her head, held her hand, and spoke softly to her. Soon the team gathered around us and I began to pray for Kevin.
There are times when the Holy Spirit speaks through you; in that moment they were not my words, but His. I did not pray for healing or freedom from pain. I didn’t pray for her care or comfort. Rather I prayed that when He took her, her body would be restored and made whole. I prayed for the glory that she would face as He called her Home and that she would soon know perfection, beauty, grace, and mercy. I prayed that she knew Him and loved His Son and I prayed for the peace that He would soon bring. As I prayed I opened my eyes and looked to her face. For the first time, Kevin moved. She turned her face to me and we locked eyes while I still prayed. I will never forget the beautiful face that looked at me that day.
The next morning I was informed that Kevin had gone to be with the Lord later that night. Her nurse was with her until her final moment.
When I heard this news I hit my knees and wept. I had not planned to pray the last prayer over a dying child on that morning. I hoped I had said the right things. It was then that Jen spoke those words to me that reminded me that it is His love for us, His love for Kevin, His love for me, that spoke through me that day. Oh how He loves us, that through His ultimate providence He would be so faithful and so intentional.
Sweet Sleep is committed to the children of Northern Uganda affected and infected by HIV/AIDS. Today, World AIDS Day, is dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection. Please join us in praying for the millions living with the virus, and for those who have gone before them.