"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)



I don't get much hopeful news out of Congo. So let me share this story, from my friends C and E and Lyn:This sweet baby girl is Ida. Her mother, Maombi was kidnapped at age thirteen by the militias that control territory in the countryside near Goma. They abused her, raped her and kept her as their slave for a year. She became pregnant, developed a terrible fistula, and was abandoned by the militia. Someone got Maombi to a counselor, who got her to Heal Africa in Goma. She was terribly sick and in a state of despair by the time she made it to the hospital. Ida was delivered by C-section; Maombi ignored her, refused to take medicine, and refused to eat. She died when Ida was three days old.

The staff asked if C and E could take Ida, which they did. E received an email that night asking her to email a couple in New York. She didn't want to, she didn't know them at all, and ended up telling the woman about the awful day it had been, and for her prayers. That couple had been trying to have a child for nine years, and, long story short, defying all the odds in a place with a dysfunctional court system, and in a place where it's almost impossible to get a visa for the United States, through a bizarre set of circumstances, were able to adopt Ida. Here is what E says about the whole situation:

"What amazes me is to see how God had parents ready for Ida, how much he cares, how graciously he deals with us.

"One other thing I’m thinking about. Ida’s mother’s name was Maombi; it means ‘prayers’. Her mother must have prayed for Maombi, thirteen years ago, and received her as a gift from God, the child of her delight. Then came the war, and the total destruction of this family. Maombi lived a year of horror before dying in our hospital. Where were the prayers now? But God has taken this little girl, fulfilled her grandmother’s desire, and brought her into a loving family, across the world but still in his kingdom - in answer to their prayers."

Ida was blessed in the church in Goma on Sunday. She left today on a flight for her new home in New York. Out of unbelievable horror, something good can come.

May we receive this story as a reminder not to give up on Congo, to keep hope alive. May we remember the thousands of children who aren't as lucky as Ida, and to pray that God will hear their families' prayers as well. May we earnestly seek to know what our role should be in helping other good things to happen. May we live with a deep sense of urgency that what happens on the other side of the world does matter to us, that it matters that the humanity of a little girl is denigrated, that we have a responsibility to love her however we can. May we thank God for the gift of sweet Ida.


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