Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Emmanuel's Welcoming Party

September 24, 2014

This past week the hospital hosted a little party to celebrate Emmanuel’s birth.  Originally it was going to be only the operating room and intensive care unit staff, but as you can imagine everyone
came.  Many of the staff have been praying and concerned for my health, so it was good for them to see us coming out. 

One of the pastors gave a dedication and blessing over Emmanuel from Psalm 127:3-4: “Sons are a
Pastor Remy prays for us
heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him.  Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth.”  Then various staff members took turns giving words of blessing and thanksgiving.  We sang a hymn in Swahili.  Warren was given an opportunity to introduce Emmanuel to everyone and explain the significance of his name.  He said just like the meaning of our son’s name, God promises to be with us in difficult and joyous times.  Oftentimes joy and sorrow are experienced together.  He thanked everyone for praying for and supporting us.  He explained that we gave Emmanuel his father’s name “James” as a middle name.  His grandfather was a missionary who has given his life for the spread of the Gospel.  It is our hope that Emmanuel will follow in his footsteps.  Many people affirmed that they hoped our boy would be a missionary.

Dr. Mike, the physician who is responsible for helping to rebuild Nyankunde Hospital after the war, asked to say a few words.  He thanked us for coming to live and work with them, saying that this brought them honor.  He said it was an even greater honor that we had decided to give birth to our child here.  This has been our prayer that people would feel honored and valued and that we want to share life with them.  It was special to look around the room at people who cared
Dr. Mike Upio and staff
for me in the hospital and helped us in various ways.  Our Congolese colleagues have become like family.

Dr. Remy, the head of our health district, said that Emmanuel would always have Congo in his
Dr. Remy

blood.  Dr. Remy said that he will always be able to say, “I was born in Congo” and would belong to this village of Nyankunde.  I think birthplace has a much deeper significance here in Africa than it does for an American.  For the average American, birthplace is just a detail to complete on official documents like passports.

Gifts were then exchanged.  We should have anticipated our gift, given all the noise outside the We also received a wall hanging with Psalm 127:3-4 inscribed in seeds and “Centre Medicale Evangelique” t-shirts.  We were told that after an animal is gifted, extended family and friends are then allowed to hold the baby.  At
Mr. Hairy the goat
conference room window.  Yes, indeed Emmanuel received his first goat!  His name is Mr. Hairy who now lives in our front yard and loves eating my flowers! 
Mama Ruth and Emmanuel
this point Emmanuel was passed around and photos were taken with him.

No party is complete without snacks…so the sodas and doughnuts (mandazis) were passed around last.  It was a special little party for us.  Meaningful to have so many people we know and care about in one room.  We felt honored that we were included in their traditions.  We were touched by everyone’s concern for my health and complete recovery.  It was wonderful to celebrate his precious life with our Congolese friends.

Stay tuned for more tales of a little boy and his family.

Blessings and love,

Lindsey and Warren
Richard and Emmanuel

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