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People Come with Stories

A Layne Post


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People come with stories.
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Some will make you laugh.

Some will stir rage.

Some will make you cry.

 

And slowly unveiled amid warm afternoons passed under shade cloth, surrounded by giggles and cries of three little girls, they begin to unfold, these people, these stories.

And we find, not to our surprise, they are so much more than a cancer diagnosis.

 

And so we minister, as desperate people serving desperate people in need of Savior.

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And it isn’t grandiose.

In fact, it seems small this “ministry” we do.

 

Sometimes it may be a morning spent at the beach, or a few new colorful skirts bought solely for pleasure.

Sometimes it is tossing bean bags into wooden holes.

Sometimes it is singing along with the strum of a guitar.

Sometimes it is sitting on tree stumps bearing souls and airing hurt.

Sometimes it is a big stinky dog catching slobbery toys thrown to-and-fro.

Sometimes it is watching television with the air conditioning on.

Sometimes is is plate of fried chicken or the cooking of comfort food.

And then in the quiet stillness found at the end of the day, we find ourselves drifting to sleep and thanking God for these stories collided into ours, and begging His smile as we try to love those He loves.

 

Thanks for being a part. Thanks for seeing people and loving people with us.

Things I am Praying for in April

A Jon Post

These are the things I’ve found myself praying for this month:

Trust

Trust

  • That my faith would grow as strong as my obedience and that my obedience would grow as strong as my faith.
  • That Casa Ahavá’s ministry leader would teach me to follow Him closely and that I would never think I’m leading it.
Brave

Brave

  • That Anaya would always trust her daddy.
  • That I would always look to be the servant of society, not its leader.
  • That Jovie would be brave.
  • That my beard would look good with a little grey in it.
  • That my knees and back would hold out a few more years.
  • That Christy would remember her husband well and that her children would find their heavenly daddy while they miss their earthly one.
Mending

Mending

  • That my gratitude would always come before God’s provision for my family and my patients.
  • That Layne would always melt when I hold her
  • That my dog would stop making such a mess.
  • That I Anita’s broken heart would mend.
Pirates

Pirates

  • That my hands would stay strong enough to catch my daughters when they fall, soft enough to hold my wife when she’s weak, skilled enough to make nice things for my patients and tender enough to hold theirs when they are sick.
  • That my kids would be able to memorize and sing the pirate song with me that Tigger sings in Winnie the Pooh… “IIIIIIII love to live the piraty life, sailing the seventy seas…”
  • That I may continue to learn about self-sacrifice and servanthood from the way Layne serves me, my kids and my patients.
Teaching

Teaching

  • That we would keep getting to know Anita and Inês as they continue to know and trust us and our family.
  • That Layne would always believe how much she captures me.
Strong

Strong

  • That Karasi would be strong.
  • That Christ would redeem and have mercy.
  • That I could learn from Inês’s years and scars.
  • That my children would not grow so used to death that they don’t mourn those who die and that they would not be so broken by it that they cannot find wholeness.
Scars

Scars

  • That Layne’s eyes always find mine.
  • That no one in our home would be afraid to live or scared to die.
Melt

Melt

New Patients at Casa Ahavá

A Layne Post

Casa Ahavá currently has two patients – Anita and Inês. Just typing their names and thinking about them gives me a warm feeling in my heart. I am really enjoying these two ladies. So here is a little about them:

Anita is the Mama of 4 girls. She is very active in a Baptist church in Beira, Mozambique. She loves the Lord and the members of her church with a passion. Sometimes when I knock on her door to give her some news or information about doctor appointments, I find her sitting on the floor reading her Bible. Back home she worked for a day-care/preschool at her church and had begun learning sign language to work with deaf students. Lord willing she regains her health, she would like to continue studying sign and have the ability to teach others. She is wonderful with my girls! I love hearing her call them into her kitchen and my girls run in and out giggling. Anita is extremely responsible and independent, an absolute joy to have here at our home. She is currently at the hospital receiving a Chemo treatment and then, so long as her tests come out clean, she only has one more chemo course next month before returning to her family.

Inês is a great-grandma! You would not believe it seeing her because she is so lovely and still strong and lively. Her family is her pride and joy. She loves to talk about them, and I am often confused as she tells of so many members – I get lost! As soon as she arrived at our house, she took Karasi out of my arms and placed her on her hip. Karasi was at ease with this well experienced avó (grandma). She speaks Portuguese, but definitely as a second language so I feel like we are often losing some things in translation, both ways! But she is gracious and has an awesome smile and laugh that just makes it all okay. Her family has a large dog at home, so she surprised me when she had no fear of Gasher. I often see her roll her eyes at his annoying ways and pat his head. Because she has only been here a week, we are still getting to know her, but she is already well loved. She should start her second of six rounds of Chemo next week.

Our family had the most wonderful time camping. It was refreshing and rejuvenating, making us well prepared and ready for this new season and community at Casa Ahavá. Jon’s weeks have been full of early mornings and lots of time in traffic to and from the hospital. The staff have been so helpful in our partnership, and we continue to stand in awe of the Lord’s favor He grants to us as doctors and nurses shift schedules and fit our patients in, making appointments happen.

On my drive home from the hospital yesterday I was reflecting on my girls and their adjustment to new people in their space. They don’t skip a beat. It is normal and natural for them to have new Tias and Tios come stay in the rooms at the back of our house and to play in the afternoons. I am so grateful they get to grow up this way. My heart just melts when I hear Anaya tell me her stuffed duck Katy is a little sick and at the hospital, but that she is going to go visit her and make her smile. May the Lord have my sweet girls’ hearts and may He always mend them when they break on His behalf – loving the sick and dying alongside their Mama and Dada.

Come Meet Filomena

A Jon Post

Here is the video interview we did with Filomena while she lived here with us at Casa Ahavá. Please take the time to watch it and remember her with us. If you do not have the whole 10 minutes,  I hope you have time to go to the 6 minute mark and watch until 8 minutes and hear how much she loves her family and what God has taught her in her sickness.

Pausing for a Breath

A Jon Post

Casa Ahavá’s first patient has left.
Zakarias arrived for the first time in April of last year. He spent 6 months in Casa Ahavá and then returned to his home in Beira. As many of you have read here and here, he came back in January and spent another month in Casa Ahavá with his wife and daughter.
After meeting with his oncologist, we received a final, though not unexpected, response from the oncology ward.
His cancer is untreatable.
Terminal.
Fatal.
So he went home.
We spent many of those days while he was here in January and February talking about how he could prepare his life for its end. We visited multiple government offices to arrange for his veteran’s pension and social security payments to continue to support his young wife and children.
And he went home.
A wonderful doctor in the hospital’s pain management unit prescribed some medicine that has helped him tremendously. His pain levels are much decreased and his sleep time is much more peaceful.
So grows his cancer.
So creeps towards its glory, the spirit of Papa Zakarias.
Upon arriving home, he promptly sent someone to find out information on Filomena. As we mentioned here, we have been unable to contact her.
A neighbor had the news.
She died. Two weeks ago.

Goodbye Sister

Goodbye Sister

So arrived into glory the spirit of dear, sweet, Filomena.
When I heard the news all I could remember was the night I held her trembling body in my arms and willed oxygen into her fluid-filled lungs.
For this, Lord? For this? You saved her that night… for this?
Though I know the answers to the questions and the pain that flooded my heart, when I heard of Filomena’s death, those answers brought little comfort. They brought little relief from the weariness that threatened to overwhelm my spirit.
So entered glory, the spirit of Filomena.
Casa Ahavá; Home of a love that chose pain before ease. Home of a love that chooses flood waters before abandonment.
Now Casa Ahavá welcomes her next love. Now she offers her bed and arms to her next friend.
Dear Tia Anita was all packed and ready to come to Casa Ahavá on Friday, February 21st but paperwork and slow processes turned that into Tuesday afternoon, the 25th. Having spent the last 5 months away from her family and faced with the prospect of the next 2-3 with us, her stand-in family, we made the decision to send her to her home town for two weeks to see her daughters and grandchild before her next treatment. She will be back to stay with us next week on the 11th.
So now we pause. Now we try to breath. Now we remember the Sabbath that our Lord made holy, and we try to keep it holy.

I think God thought up camping/rock climbing for just such a time.

Thanks for praying for us, Zakarias, and for Filomena. It is known and it helps.