Bethseda is a Hospice Home and Children's Home... a place for people waiting to die, and for children who either have medical conditions which make it too difficult for their families to care for them, or who have been neglected/abandoned. Many with HIV, severe Epilepsy, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome etc.
We spent some time visiting with some of the residents there, helping feed some of them, praying with some, and just loving on the kids.
Isaac is a man in his mid thirties who has severe epilepsy. He is conscious, but doesn't speak or respond. He has been at Bethseda for some time now, and they don't expect him to live much longer. He was allowed to go home over the Christmas Holiday, but was not given proper care, so bed sore wounds were not treated etc. The nurse mentioned to us that his body had severe burn marks on it. She said it was not uncommon for his culture to lock epileptics in dark rooms and things (due to spiritual beliefs/fears). Not until recently did government money start being granted for families, so neglect was a huge problem. When praying over Isaac, his breathing would steady a bit, and he would even make eye contact with me for little bits of time. As I watched him breathe, so frail and sick looking, I tried to just fathom how much it must hurt Jesus to see him this way.
Kathriana is a 3 year-old girl abandoned by her parents because she has a cleft palate and some other issues as well. She is smaller than Liam, unable to walk or talk. The cleft on her face actually divides her mouth and nose, so breathing is strained for her as well. Surgery to repair the cleft is on hold until some other health issues are resolved. I don't know the whole story. But she is quite a happy little thing, with a huge grin, and she tries to sing along to songs, and just soaks up attention... she'll lock gaze with you and make lovey eyes like you wouldn't believe. We sang "Jesus Loves Me" over and over, and I felt rather guilty to put her down.
This place is amazing. It is staffed by wonderful people who have adopted a vision to care for those in need. Day after day, they show up to love the people who have been rejected by their own families, and to graciously and couragously offer them care and hope as many pass from this life to the next. They invest their time and hearts into the place. ANd its the founders and workers who take it upon themselves to raise awareness and funds to meet the many growing needs there. For example, there are currently 8 cribs in one room for small children, and they are desperately wishing to expand. So the head nurse is starting a brick campaign to hopefully persuade people to donate just a single brick. And so because of her passion, brick by brick, space will be created for more sick children who do not receive care from family. I will try to get more info about this in case anyone wishes to donate to the cause.
I am still trying to take everything in from today. I am asking God for balance: I want my heart to break for what breaks his heart, and yet I also want to be guarded from being overwhelmed by sadness. What can we learn from the people here? How can we be a source of Hope in this? Only God can see the full picture, and so I have to just accept that I may never understand.