Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Posted by Kriss Gates
We have become very close to several of the people who have been baptized since we have been here. Seven weeks ago, at a baptism, we had a father and his 3 daughters be baptized. They were twin 9 year olds and an 11 year old. The youngest was darling. I helped her get dressed for her baptism... and gave her a hug as I helped her up the stairs as she came out of the waters of baptism. She was nervous to go under the water, because they only take bucket baths and she has never been submerged in water before. Also, her twin sister had to go under 4 times, just before her, because her foot kept popping out of the water. This youngest sweetheart giggled and glowed after one dunk, and was thrilled with the entire experience. The girls dresses were very humble... very, very, very humble. As missionaries, we aren't allowed to give money to the members, but nowhere does it say that we can't go shopping and buy some cute dresses and have the Elders drop them off anonymously. So we did. Twice. And each time in our hearts we bonded with those cute 3 girls. Tonight we are broken hearted. We have heard it said that a child dies in Africa every 30 seconds. That is a terrible statistic.... because so many of the deaths are from things that could easily be prevented with proper hygiene, food, water and immunizations. But this time it isn't "A" child. It is one of "THE" children that we have fallen in love with the most. Seven weeks ago she was in great health. Yesterday she died. Noone knows why. She just got sick and died a week later. Ed and I are devastated. Our grieving is not only for her, but for all the little darlings that are our Heavenly Father's children who are dying every 30 seconds. Our grieving is for all the families who love these sweethearts and have to bury them. When things like this happen we realize we have been blessed beyond measure, and have taken things for granted. We are learning why the previous mission presidents wife hugged us before we left and said... "The rest of your life, you will look at the world through African eyes... and be better because of it."