Thursday, January 13, 2011

This Temporary Life

This life is so temporary and we were reminded of that this past week when a young member of our church passed away. Her husband called us with the news and Ben and I wept together. Not because of Hederine's death. We are rejoicing because within the last year, She trusted Christ and is at the feet of her Savior right now! The thing that really broke our heart was the baby she left behind that will never remember his mother. Let me tell you Hederine's story.

About a year and a half ago we were having some internet trouble and Ben was in a cafe checking his email. The power went out. When that happens, expletives fly and people are usually not happy because whatever they were doing just got lost. Everyone was sitting around hoping that the power would pop back on and chatting in the mean time. Ben heard one man near him talking about how his brother had just died, and how he didn't have one thing prepared. He was having to go around and arrange the funeral and pay for this and that. Ben said, "Do you mind if I ask a question? Are you prepared for your death? What if you were to die? Are you prepared? Where would you go?" That man listening was a Nigerian man and his name was Okerike. Ben had many listening ears, but as he shared the gospel Okerike was the one that trusted Christ that day. He began attending our church and not too long after that, his Cameroonian wife, Hederine, trusted Christ as Savior. They were both baptized and became members of our church in October of 2009. Hederine was pregnant at the time. You can kind of see her baby bump in the photo. In March of 2010 she "put to birth" a baby boy and they named him Dick. We went and visited her in the hospital. Pastor Lee Atkinson was here visiting us at the time, so he had the priviledge of meeting Hederine. Here is a picture of her sweet newborn boy:
Around November of this last year, Hederine became ill. From what we were told, her husband was trying to treat her in the house. He is considered a type of medicine man in Nigeria, though not of the witchcraft type. He was attempting to treat her naturally with herbs and things of that sort. She became so ill after two weeks, that he finally admitted her into the hospital and she was diagnosed with cerebral malaria. We visited her one Monday as a family. I wouldn't have even recognized her she was so thin. She looked so different. But she was sitting up, eating, and while visibly very weak, she seemed to be improving. She was finally discharged from the hospital. Her husband claims that a difficult trip out to her village for Christmas caused her to relapse. She was re-admitted to the hospital after the holidays. Ben went to visit her and he came home and said, "Hederine is really sick. We need to pray." He said she was strugging for every breath. He spent close to an hour with her and prayed with her and read scripture. He called them every day to check on her health. Okerike kept saying she was improving. Wednesday of last week, however, Okerike called us to tell us that she had died that morning.

I'd say she is about my age. Maybe even younger. It is hard for me to grasp how a seemingly healthy young woman could get sick and die so quickly. It is a reminder of the brevity of life and I'm so thankful for the boldness that Ben had in the internet cafe that day, to share the gospel with Okerike and later with Hederine. I'm so thankful that she chose to trust in Christ. Like I said earlier, what really saddens me is that Dick will never remember his Mother. He really hasn't even been with her very much the last couple of months of her life even. But every time Ben visited her in the hospital, Dick was all she would talk about. Our hearts are saddened for the family and we pray that during this difficult trial in Okerike's life, that he wouldn't become bitter or angry with God.

Would you pray as well, that God would bring the peace that only He can bring? Would you also pray for the funeral this Saturday, as Ben preaches and has the opportunity to share the gospel with her entire family?
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  1. How sad to loose a friend like that here on Earth, but so comforting to know she's with her Savior now - healed and no longer sick! I'll definitely pray for the husband and child she left behind. And for Ben and the funeral this weekend. Hugs to you all.

  2. I will be praying. Thanks for sharing this sad, but also wonderful story - sad to die & leave a young husband & child behind but wonderful because she is with her Savior now. I'm very grateful that you guys are there sharing the Gospel. Without your willingness to serve she would have died without hope.