Some of you probably have read my FB post about our country leader in Zambia, David Malonga. His wife, Lydia, lost her nephew just almost a month ago. As her family members were traveling from Lusaka to Ndola, they were involved in a car accident. She lost all 4 brothers, 3 SILs, a sister and another nephew. Nine family members gone.
background: As part of David’s role at J-Life, he visits between 4-8 countries each year. He meets with the country leader, their family, board members and just gets to serve along side them and mentor them for several days.
So, we had planned as an adventure (my words, not David’s) to drive to Ndola, Zambia over the September holidays with the kids. What an adventure (1400 miles one way), but that’s for another blog post….
Then this tragedy happened just days before we left, but we decided to go anyway to see our FBC McKinney friends living in Kitwe, Zambia and our J-Life staff, the Stoniers, who had just moved to Ndola 3 weeks prior. We get to visit with David and Lydia one afternoon for about an hour. They were still back and forth to the funeral home. Zambian customs are that the family stays at the funeral home until all family members have arrived from wherever. In this case it was from the other side of Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Botswana, etc…Traveling in Africa is not just hop on a plane and go. Sometimes planes only fly in and out of the capital city from another country once or twice a week. Buses go in and out everyday, but that is also long especially including border crossings.
Needless to say, wrapping your head around loosing 9 family members in a week is difficult for us bystanders much less the family that is left. So, I’ve been mulling around this idea of beauty from ashes for the last 10 or so days. It’s been asked, How do you even come back from loosing that many? How can you even comprehend? Most of us have lost family members of some kind or another. Death is not picky. But just loosing one is hard enough. Then I think of Job. Everyone gone….no one left. And he still worshiped our God. The Lord says in Isaiah, for those who grieve He will provide comfort. They will be oaks of righteousness. Wow, I don’t know who of you have seen a hundred year old oak, but those things are amazing. Strong and deep, hard to break, Full of leaves and life. Providing many hours of play and imagination for those of us blessed to have one in our yard.
If you think of it, ashes are gross. They spread around making black marks. If they get on the wall, you can’t hardly clean them off. Ashes are hard to sweep out and get clean, but the Lord says He will make beauty from ashes. Beauty will come. It’s a promise. It’s hard to see in the thick of hard times, in the midst of lose. When the numbness wears off and real life without them begins. David and Lydia covet your prayers for their family. They will most likely take in 2 or 3 of the little ones who lost parents. They have little, but offer all they have. It will be beautiful….the Lord promises.