Unless You are here, it is hard to describe this celebration with words. Thirty Malian women in matching vibrant attire become the choir that, along with a great drummer, electrifies the environment. They sing for about two hours because everybody is late. People excitedly mill around. Hospital officials usher special guests from building to building teaching them about the accomplishments and the dreams.
School has let out so that the students might catch a glimpse of the important officials from Koutiala, Bamako and Omaha. Pomp and circumstance are at an all time high. People are seated correctly, shake hands in the proper order and give speeches with the correct protocol.
The Mayor speaks. Then Daniel Thera, the Malian leader who directs the Hospital. Mr. Thera asks the Minister of Health for two key favors (in front of everyone!). First, for tax-exempt status on all utilities. Then he asks that the dirt road between Koutiala proper and the hospital be paved and lit. (just imagine being nine months pregnant, in an emergency, being pulled on a donkey cart along dusty, potholed, bumpy steeets in the dark!
Then I get up. I talk about Jesus, like I always do. I tell them the story of a crazy church in Omaha... A place many have never heard of. I tell them about how Christ's love has compelled us to sacrifice so that others might have life...just like Jesus. I tell them that his kingdom is one of justice and love. It is a kingdom where mommies matter to God, where babies matter to God, where they matter to God. And I bless them and pray to Jesus to dedicate the buildings (something that rarely happens in Mali).
The minister of Health follows and he promises to look into the paved road and tax exemption. Everybody celebrates. We cut the ribbon and enter the building.
A wonderful Malian dinner follows. Sitting next to an English speaking diplomat, I pray for an opportunity to talk about Jesus. Gratefully, the conversation turns to spiritual matters and we talk about Christ and our respective spiritual journeys. We exchange email info and I pray silently for Gods Word to take root.
After 7000 babies safely being born, I am reminded of God's power to redeem a broken world...and his power to use ordinary people to do extraordinary things. Thanks CCC for taking this Journey of faith. Your faithfulness is paying off all over the world.