Meet baby "Mercy" Sikatianka!
A few weeks ago, her mother began feeling labor pains in the middle of the night. But in Sinazongwe, there is no hospital, no ambulance or emergency room.
So her mother, Mabey, got up and WALKED the 3 HOURS, crossing a river
and climbing hills, to a local government clinic
where she was admitted under the care of a midwife.
She delivered not long after arrival somewhere around 1am,
a healthy baby girl.
Stanley and his wife have 3 older girls.
When we found out they were expecting, we joked about them hoping for a boy.
Having a son is a big deal in this culture.
Stanley replied, "We want whatever God gives us!"
So, just a few hours after delivery, Mabey was discharged from the clinic at 6AM to begin her journey walking home! Can you believe that? Even being aware of the limited medical care, I was shocked that she walked home just 5 hours after giving birth! I was filled with a huge wave of thankfulness for the medical care we have available in the US!
But this story is not uncommon. Many still deliver at home for this very reason.
"Mercy" is the 4th daughter to Stanley and Mabey Sikatianka. Stanley is the leader of Siankwanga Baptist Church. A few months back, while waiting for the arrival of baby #4, Stanley shared with James that they wanted to dedicate this child to the Lord in front of the church. This is their first child since becoming believers in 2009.
Stanley had shared with James that they had chosen a name for the baby.
They wanted to give her MY name!
So Siankwanga Baptist Church invited our other church plants for a day of celebrating together! Many people walked over 2 hours for the celebration.
We really had no idea what to expect. In our minds, it would be a normal church service.
Little did we know that it would turn into 5 1/2 hours of singing and teaching!
I was beginning to get a little worried. After 5 hours of church, there was still no sign of Mabey and the baby. I kept thinking, "Where are they?"
So, we learned a little about their culture this day.
When presenting a new baby, the mother and child stay at home.
When the service was almost over, all the women from the church go to the house and bring the mother and baby while singing and dancing the whole way!
They are literally rejoicing together over this new life!
When I heard about them giving her my name, I wanted to be a part of her dedication.
I prepared to speak to the church in CiTonga for the first time!
I read from 2Timothy and explained how important it is for the parent to teach their children the Word of God. I challenged them to pray for their children and speak Words of life to them.
James gave a charge to the parents to commit her way to the Lord and asked the church to be accountable as well.
(The ladies at church cheered after my first sentence. I know how much it meant to them to hear me speaking in their language! This is a continued prayer request for me. Pray that I will continue to find the time to study and practice the language!)
Let me just say how wonderful my kids are! They endured a 5 1/2 hour church service, sitting in the dirt! They always sit right with their Zambian friends!
Please be in prayer for Stanley as he is seeking the Lord's will
about going to seminary next year!