And with a small grimace of her dusky features, the slim, raven-haired woman from Tabuk, who also looked like a warrior princess, gave a push and her baby popped out, full of hair, tinted with gray and crying. I felt my eyes sting with tears as the little one’s arrival was met with choruses of “Thank you, Lord” and “Praise God!” Quite frankly, I have never seen anything like it.
This was during one of the early months of 2011, either in January or February. My friend Chel and I took to the mountains as the result of a week-long fast and prayers, which is encouraged by our church (Victory Christian Fellowship). After saying goodbye to our friends and our families, and a 13-hour long freezing cold bus ride to Kalinga, we found ourselves seated in the warm and cozy clinic called “Abundant Grace of God”, run by missionaries under the gracious helm of Georgia Gilliland Macad and her husband Achao.
The clinic provides free birthing services and mobile midwifery to the different areas of Tabuk, the capital of Kalinga as well as its surrounding tribal regions. It is staffed by equal parts midwife interns who come from different parts of the globe as well as licensed midwife locals, all of whom have answered God’s call by dedicating their lives to serving others. Needless to say, it was a blast getting to know these ladies and going on day-to-day adventures with them.
From doing medical missions and ministry up on the magical mountains of Bugnay, to doing “shots” of nganga (betel chew) or to simply curling up in the clinic’s sala to watch DVD’s. We had different ways to pass the time which always seemed to crawl much slower where we were but what I looked forward to most were the moments spent in the kitchen table, lingering long after breakfast or lunch or dinner has been served and put away and eating peanut butter or having coffee with Milo, and just talking, talking, talking about Jesus and how He was working in all of these girls’ lives.
And what a joy to watch these midwives spring to action when, even at the crack of dawn a tricycle would screech to a halt in front of the clinic and amidst Harry the dog’s happy barking, a fully pregnant woman would hop off, accompanied by a husband or mother, ready to welcome their new son or daughter into the world. It wasn’t a clinical, serious or cheerless bustling to action that they did but a joyful, bursting with excitement sort, as they took the pregnant woman’s blood pressure or prepared the bed for birthing. There was real love for what they did and this love filled and warmed the place.
It was sometime during my stay in the Abundant Grace of God that I had this thought, however fleeting, that when the time comes for me to welcome my little one into the world, this was the kind of place that I would like to do it in.
Needless to say, all the apprehensions and fears I had while curled up in the bus going up to the mountains with no other plan but to serve God had melted away. To tell the truth, I had visions of toiling under the hot sun, carrying heavy cartons of medical equipment amidst crying children in a Nairobi desert-like setting.
What I didn’t know was that every single one of these people put there by God had real joy in their hearts to serve, that this joy radiated so much that even if there were challenges and probable pains, the glory of God shone so overwhelmingly and so persistently that everything else was knocked out into oblivion and that I took to calling this place in Kalinga a little piece of heaven on earth.
From that season, I learned a precious, precious lesson. When God tells you to do something, obey. Even if you don’t understand how or why yet. And don’t doubt, don’t be afraid because when He asks you to do things and go places far out of your comfort zone for Him, He is only waiting to reveal to you His glory. (Or at the very least, give you one heck of a learning experience that you will never ever forget.)
Faith, as I learned, can truly take you places further than you can imagine.
When God led us to Kalinga in January of 2011, He didn’t tell us what awaited us there. At the time, it seemed outrageous, impractical and crazy.
But as I cradle my firstborn Maaya in my arms today do I see the connection. This is God’s destiny for me.
And it all began with a “yes”.
(To be continued…..when the bubba sleeps for more than 30 minutes without waking up 😉 )
To find out more about Abundant Grace of God, follow this link to Georgia’s blog.