Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Cait Evangelista is one of the Adventures in Missions gals that I've had the blessing of meeting. This past summer she led a large group of Ambassadors to Swaziland. This was the same team that Anna's former Swaziland teammates, Chandler and Lindsay, were part of.

Ministering to extremely impoverished children and orphans at neighborhood carepoints was one of the things they did almost every day. Here, Cait tells about their ministry time at one particular carepoint and the baby who impacted her so deeply:

I've typed this blog out too many times. I've come to this Word document too many times. I've stared at this screen too long. I don't know how to put this into words.

The year I spent stateside after the Novas Project was hard. You only had to look me in the eyes to see that I was longing for something more. One of the hardest things was being a part of a church where the Mothers and Fathers loved so much. I would hear things like, "We're having a girl, we can't wait to meet her!" "How blessed am I to have these children!" and "Having children is like having your heart walk outside your body."

Don't get me wrong, I am so thankful to hear these things. These things are completely honorable and glorifying to the Lord. It just pains me that these phrases are only used in a portion of the world.

One phrase in particular has haunted me. "He is my shadow."

...Let me introduce you to someone I will call Jesus baby.

There is a care point in Manzini, Swaziland. It has enough little chairs for every child. There are flushing toilets. There is a pretty preschool with running water in the preschool building and outside the building. There are dozens of small tires sticking out of the dirt for children to run and jump over. There are children playing in the trees. There is a large open space where the boys play soccer.

This looks like a safe haven at first. But across the street is the city dump. All day long you will see men and women picking through the trash hoping to find food, recyclables, or anything valuable. Down the street from the care point, off the main road, there is piles and piles of trash. Puddles of I don't know what and naked babies sitting in them.

If you look through a different set of lenses at the care point you will see brokenness and desperation.As soon as you take a step toward the entrance gate at least 5 children are hanging off you and attempting to crawl up to your head. If you are a boy, you can triple that number. You will see a fire going to cook the pap and beans and a mentally challenged baby sitting one foot from it but he isn't physically able to crawl away. He cries, but no one listens to him. Babies diapers' are dripping and overflowing. Boys fist fighting each other to hold your hand. Little girls walking around with only a shirt on and no pants or skirt.

When I was at this care point I was spending some time with my beloved Ambassador girls and watching 2 precious little ones asleep on the dirt floor. I felt the Holy Spirit urge me to leave that area and go to the other side of the building. When I got there I smelled something atrocious. After spending a minute searching for the odor, I realized it was radiating from a baby boy...the very one the Holy Spirit was leading my steps to.

After looking him over to make sure there wasn't anything too grimy on him (honestly, I was checking to make sure poop wasn't going to get on me...that is a realistic thing to avoid there), I picked him up. I couldn't hold him normally because his belly was unusually huge. His shirt couldn't fit over it and his pants were falling down. His face was filthy and covered in what looked like scales. His tummy and back were laced in a white that isn't supposed to be there. His body was covered in sores from his head to his shoeless baby feet.

[Even though he looks like he has baby fat, he isn't nutritionally healthy. A lot of time babies there will only eat pap, which has zero nutritional value. It will make you heavier, but it's not going to prevent malnutrition. His stomach being so huge can be due to HIV, parasites and worms or malnutrition.]

This baby broke my heart. Maybe it was the immense likelihood of him having HIV. Or the miserable look that never left his face. Or the fact that he couldn't fall asleep on me like he desperately wanted to because his big, bloated and rock hard belly was in the way and his head couldn't reach my chest. Or that as I was trying to cuddle him to sleep, as I rubbed his back, my fingers were going over sore after sole, bump after bump. Or that when we put him on a tire to take photos of him he laid down and he looked like he was dead. Or that I never saw him smile.

Jesus baby came to the care point alone. No Mother, brother or sister. He is no one's shadow. No one is delighted over him.

Leaving him at that care point was really hard and humbling for me. I had to trust that leaving him there, with Jesus loving him, was more than I could ever give him. My selfish love is nothing compared to the love Jesus desires to pour over this baby boy. Jesus didn't put me in this boy's life to only hold him. I was used as a bridge for the love of Christ to pour into Jesus baby's heart.

We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also out to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion- how can God's love be in that person?

Dear children, lets not merely day that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God.

1 John 3:16-19

Visit Cait's blog for more posts about her life of serving God through missions:

No comments: