Today was Addie's going home party (aka funeral) and I was blessed to be in attendance. Thank you for each of you that prayed over these moments for me, my family in Moz, and Addie's family. It was probably the only thing that didn't keep me from bursting into tears all day! I want to share my funeral experience with you, because it was beautiful, so simple, and yet heartwrenching!
We loaded up after lunch and headed off in search of Addie's father's house. When we arrived, all the family shoved into a giant flat bed truck with a tarp over it (we call it a cameao or cameo in english). We then headed off to the cemetery. When we arrived, the funeral car was already there with Addie. The took out the tiny casket and placed in on a stand under the tree in the shade. It was a small gathering, maybe only 30 or so. I hugged the father and said I was sorry for his loss. We gathered around the casket at the start of the service. It was short and conducted by one of our pastors and was completely in their native language of Shygunna....I had no clue what they said, except for Amen and Hallelujah! Pastor Rafael said a few short words, they sang two songs in Shygunna, and then moved onto the anointing part. They opened up her tiny hand made wooden casket that had been brushed with 1 see-throughish coat of white paint, and removed the white blankets she was wrapped in. Then the family started anointing her with perfumes and powders. They do not embalm here so they do as they did way back in the day of Jesus and spray perfumes and sprinkle scented powders over the body before burrying the dead. If you've never been to a child's funeral, much less a baby's funeral and had to stare at such a tiny casket, feel blessed. It just looks wrong. After everyone anointed her, they covered her head again, place the lid back on top, and we all followed through the cemetary as they carried her to her final resting place. When we arrived, they sang a bit more and then asked for anyone to say something about Adelaide if they would like (again this is all in Shygunna). Next, a man stepped into the shallow grave and place Addie gently into the hole, fixed the casket just right, and then one by one the, starting with the father and her brothers, they took a handful of dirt and threw it onto the casket while singing. The singing continued as they shoveled the dirt high into a mound on top of Addie. Someone had brought flowers that they will plant on her grave (I would like to think that the growing plants and flowers they plant on the graves is to signify the new life that she has, but that's just what makes me feel better) and they put one into the ground at each corner of her grave. When all the dirt was in place, they took out the jug of water that they had brought with them and began to one by one help water her grave, to help harden the dirt in place and to water the growing plants. Her father walked off after his handful of water and over to another part of the cemetary. I watched as he knelt down over his wife's grave who he had buried less than 3 months ago, who had died of the exact same causes. He picked the most beautiful flowers from her grave and brought them to Addie's graveside. He knelt into the dirt and started planting them all over her grave. His sons helped. They are 9 and 11 and remained teary throughout the service. Then they placed the left over powder at the head of the grave, took the remaining bottle of perfume, placed it over where her head lay, and shattered it with the shovel, allowing the sweet perfume to fill the air and seep into her grave. When all was done, the pastor prayed again and then it was over. As they family loaded back up to go back to their house, where they will have lots of food and a part, we spoke with Pastor Rafael. We weren't able to go back to their home as we still had work to do back at the base. He asked us if we had any words to say to the family. We asked if he could deliver them for us so that the translation would be right. I asked him to tell the family that Jesus has a special place in His heart for children and that right now Addie is sitting his lap. She doesn't have any sickness or hurts or pains anymore. She is dancing and singing with the angels and will never be sick again! We made our way back to the base and I took some time alone in my room to just process it. I am surprised at how much I held it together today....only a few tears.
My heart broke for this family who was once again back at the graveside, burying one of their own. I hurt to see the young brothers crying and so sad to see their sister go. The reality of it, each community here experiences some form of death daily, if not within that community, a family member of the community. It is a daily experience here. Most of the deaths could be prevented...lack of clean water, lack of sanitary conditions, lack of mosquito nets, no food to eat, curable diseases but not being able to afford the precious life saving antibiotics or medicines at just a few dollars, curable diseases without access to healthcare, lack of shelter to protect them, no immunizations to prevent simple childhood diseases that are lethal and alive her, no real education on the biggest killer they face-AIDS. It is heartbreaking to see the deaths of so many at things that could so easily be prevented. For them, this is life. Without Jesus, they have NO HOPE of a better life here on earth. So many here though do not know Our Savior! They have no hope. My heart is once again broken and weeping for this culture that God has called me to serve. I am examining all that I'm doing here and what I can change to better benefit these people. Please continue praying for this family and our workers here. Please continue to pray for this ministry!
Posted by erin at 20:13