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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.

Update on Zakarias

A Layne Post

I’ve wondered what to say. I keep thinking, “I’ll write after his doctor’s appointment.” Now that doctor’s appointment has moved two times, thanks to Dr. travels, and I have decided to delay no longer. It is time for an update!

Papa Zakarias, his wife Theresa, and his 2 year old daughter Maria have been living with us for a month now. He has 4 other children at home, 14 years old and younger, whom his mother-in-law and sister-in-law are caring for as the children continue their school studies.

Before he came, we communicated multiple times with Papa Zakarias about expectations for why he would come back to Casa Ahavá. We understood and he indicated that he understood that he was coming for hospice care and that the hospital could only provide pain management, something that is not offered in Beira, the city where he lives.

The first week he was here we had lots of conversations about the future to make sure we were all on the same page. Turns out we weren’t. Papa Zakarias hopes that chemo treatment would be beneficial and wants to ask an oncologist again if that is possible. Jon has had personal conversations with 3 oncologists at the hospital who have all indicated that chemotherapy could no longer help him but Zakarias wants to hear it for himself.

This change in his outlook did take Jon and I by surprise and we have had to make a bit of a mental shift to know how to best support and love him. A decision about treatment is not something Jon and I have control over. Jon helped Papa Zakarias make an appointment with one of oncologists at the hospital and hopefully on Monday he will have a meeting with him. If he does not begin treatment, as of now, we believe he will return home to be with the rest of his children. If the oncologist believes it beneficial, he would stay here during treatment. Theresa and Maria would stay during the first few cycles to see how he managed.

If the oncologist reconfirms that chemotherapy is not an option, before going home, they have a few decisions to make – if his wife will have the time, strength and resources to care for him in their home as his health deteriorates and if he will be able to manage his pain with only Tylenol. Hard decisions! Pray for them!

We are sure that his time here with us has not been in vain. We have been trying to help him get his affairs in order before his time comes. Papa Zakarias is a veteran of Mozambique’s War for Independence and he has access to some monthly income and benefits (ex: transport and medical discounts and free school fees for his children). He also qualifies for a monthly income for his age and years of work. He and Jon have been down at government offices filling out the proper paperwork making sure everything will continue to go to his wife and children.

We also continue to address their spiritual health. I want so badly for them to know and understand the Lord’s deep love for them and the sacrifice that was made on their behalf. Pray with us. I keep praying that the Lord would use dreams and visions and meet Papa Zakarias right where he is – in such a bold manner it would be undeniable. It is our desire for Papa Zakarias that he would come to the end of his life full of peace and full of hope for the next life.

How is his current health?

He is weak. He is unable to eat much. If he walks around and does too much in a day, his whole body feels the consequences with aches and exhaustion. He has had a secondary infection that he is treating now. He struggles a lot at night, unable to sleep and sometimes experiences body tremors. The tumor on his liver is growing and protruding, causes great pain and discomfort.

Pray with us that we would love him and his family well.

This is All We’ve Got Right Now

 

A Jon Post

I’ve been trying to write this for a while now. I hate it. I’ve started a few times and keep ending up feeling like I’m forcing something out and trying to do a nice mix of emotion, encouragement, spirituality, faith, and all the other nouns or adjective-nouns that are used to describe what we do/write.

I can’t do that right now.

So here you go:

Eliza died last month. Her tumor grew so big it shut her throat and she couldn’t eat or speak. She died in pan. We couldn’t be there.

Filomena is suffering immense pain, her weight has dropped dangerously low, and her phone number, our only way to communicate with her stopped working. A neighbor in her town far to the northern part of this country tells us she’s been admitted to the hospital there and is dying.

Zakarias came to live with us along with his wife and two year old child. I’ve had many conversations with him since he arrived last Tuesday about his health. He’s dying. He only came back because the pain was too intense and there was no way to get any medicine to control it so he came here. We are trying to help him.

We’re finding moderate success.

He’s dying.

Dosma at the Beach

Dosma at the Beach

Two weeks ago a young man named Dosma, an 18 year old boy who had come back to the hospital from his village of Calimane, died. I had known him almost two years. About a year and a half ago I took him to the beach and the little shopping mall that’s near the beach. We spent the afternoon talking and thinking about home, the farm, school, his first girlfriend, his mother, my money, his desire to be rich, his need for Christ.

He died two weeks ago.

This has been a tough start to 2014.

Pray for us.

Come Meet Eliza

A Layne Post

I knew Eliza a long time. She had a big personality, one you could not miss. She was full of faith and had a love for God’s word, despite the fact she was unable to read. All day long you could catch her singing songs to her Lord. She was a prayer. When she felt pain, her response was to cry out to God. One weekend Jon was quite sick and I remember her knocking on the door, walking into the living and passionately praying to the Lord for his healing.

She loved her family. She spoke with her mother and sister daily. Her daughter, son, and grandchildren were her pride and joy. It was difficult for her to spend so much time away from them. We were honored to have her come and stay with us, to become a Grandma around here.

She loved to cook and thought her cooking was some of the best in the country – no one else could get it quite right. She had all the tricks to the perfect this or that. She served people through her cooking – Jon and I as well.

When Jon traveled, she would come in to play with the girls, feed Jovie, and just sit with me. She helped teach Jovie to walk and patiently chatted with Anaya, even when Anaya would only speak of Katy Duck (her stuffed animal).

Eliza knew she didn’t have long. She was confident in her Savior, and last week she was redeemed, saved from this life with all its sorrows and pain, and she is living in freedom with Him.

We interviewed Eliza and asked a few questions about her family and her sickness. This was to send to her family on a DVD so that they could see her talking about them and about her life while she still had strength and life. She gave us permission to share it here as well. We hope you have the time to honor her and remember her by watching this video.