Some things in life can become monotonous. We tire of the mundane. However, there are some things that just never get old no matter how many times you experience them.
I had already fallen into a deep sleep on a rainless night when the voice of my friend, Minat, startled me. Our house is not insulated so with just a few feet and a few wooden boards between us, it sounded as though she were right there in the room. I jumped up bleary eyed, stumbled onto the porch thinking that surely Grandma was sick.
She told me instead that our friend was in labor, and she needed some help. I grabbed a few things and down the short trail to their house I went. Thankfully the night was almost warm, though sometimes our temperatures drop in the low 50s at night. I ducked down to enter into the house and saw our friend who was definitely in the latter stages of the process. She has three living children and has lost a few of her children in their toddler years, so she has had plenty of experience delivering babies and knew what she was doing. Not even an hour passed before a sweet little girl made her dramatic entry into our world. I thought to myself, “It never gets old!” The miracle of seeing a brand-new life is such a privilege to encounter.
Birthing babies is done very differently here. In our Western culture, we prepare and try to determine the very day the baby will arrive. Weeks, maybe even months, before that date we have bought the diapers, the onesies, the blankets, and the accessories.
But here, even though the mom has plenty of notice that there are only hours before the baby will come, it never ceases to amaze me that knives and string for tying off the umbilical cord are rarely on hand. I think I attended one birth in all these years when they actually had a razor blade ready and waiting. Once I attended a birth where the mom had her daughter searching for a sharp rock to cut the umbilical cord. This time we found some bamboo and took a string off a rice bag.
Maybe their way is less stressful. They provide for the need once the need arises. There is no need trying to remember everything beforehand.
After a slight clean up we got her wrapped in clean blankets, and I got to hold her while her mom changed and cleaned up too. It was well after 1 a.m., but one-by-one the siblings woke up and peered out from underneath the blankets. Others in the house encouraged them to get up and see their newest little sibling. We all sat by the fire and enjoyed all her little squeaks and stretches and her tiny little fingers as she tried to get free from the blanket. Then I handed her over to her mom. She sat cross-legged with the baby on her lap and reached out her arm to place her hand over the fire then gently place her warm hand on her newborn.
All the while, I was thinking that all these sweet little chubby faces huddled around me are going to grow up different than their relatives had. These children are going to grow up having a chance to hear God’s Word in their language.
How sweet are the ways of the Lord. How merciful are the ways of the Lord. In his kindness, he reaches out to the uttermost parts of the world—and we all get to be a part of it!
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