again, a message in my inbox from swaziland. i'm losing my job at the end of may. we are shutting down.
it's a care center for children that she is talking about. a place that feeds 100 children each day, that employs 8 swazi women (including my friend), that helps vulnerable children with medical care and school fees.
the one who created the center is leaving swaziland. i don't know the reasons behind this decision, but i'm sure it was difficult. it's always painful to leave a place that has become your home. it's excruciating when you worry the ones you leave behind may go hungry or get sick or die in your absence. she is facing challenges. it was not yet time to leave, my friend tells me.
my friend has told this story of missionaries fighting before. the story of people coming with promises of hope and healing and living partway into those promises - only to get entangled in disagreements with each other and governing boards about theology or funding or how missions should be done. then leaving.
this cycle is wrong. to come in the name of jesus. to do beautiful things. to leave in the name of jesus, re-creating chasms of need.
is it better to not go at all?
for five years now, the kids that i knew as they sat outside their homes all day while their moms worked have had safe places to place and food to eat and medical attention. the worms in their bellies have been treated. their bodies have grown. their minds have developed. would it have been better for them to have remained on their stoops for those years? i'm pretty sure the answer is no. but to meet a need and to create a community that depends on that need being met - then no longer being there with no option for sustainabilty? that seems like the wrong answer as well.
and i ache for the one who has created this beautiful thing and now is leaving it. i ache for my friend who again must look for work to support her and her family as she fights her own battle with illness. i ache for the kids whose bellies may sit empty. and i wait for the day when there is no more hunger.