Today, I (Ryan) had an sad, but enlightening experience. Our housekeeper, Esther, has a daughter, Aline, who works for two of our fellow missionaries. This past weekend, Aline’s husband’s older brother and his wife were bereft of their infant son.
We do not know all the details. All I was told is that the child became sick in the night, they took him to the pediatric hospital, were told to take him to the main hospital, and there was nothing to be done for him. Within the night, the child was dead.
Today, Esther and Aline came to our house, with our colleague Molly in tow. After a little ironing out of some miscommunication, they loaded me and Molly on the backs of their motos, and we took off to go to the bereaved household to offer condolences.
We were not sure what to expect, but when we arrived the bereaved parents were there, and Aline’s husband. They greeted us, gave us seats in the only shady corner of the compound, and gave us a drink of water, as is the custom here. As the family sat together, they conversed in Mooré (the local language), with occasional comments to us in French. They even tried to teach us a few phrases in Mooré!
As you can see in the photo above, according to Mossi (the local ethnic group, who speak Mooré) tradition, after a child dies, the parents shave their heads for four days of mourning. When I saw their shaved heads, I thought of the biblical practice of showing one’s grief in the same way. It is interesting to see how God puts His marks on every culture in every place.
While this was a sad occasion, it was encouraging that the grieving father quoted by heart the words of Job 1:21 “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the Name of the Lord.” I do not know if the child was baptized, but the Christian faith of the family was evident, as was their trust in God. They received gladly the blessing of “La paix du Christ soit avec vous!” “The peace of Christ be with you all!”
We ask for your prayers for this family as they grieve, and as they continue to care for their two older children also. The peace of the Lord abide with you, also.