Thursday, March 25, 2010

There is a first time for everything

Today I had a first time experience for me. I carried a deceased person in the back of my truck to the mortuary plus had a few more stops along the way. As a imb missionary we are here to plant churches, disciple, and lead others to Christ. However, because we live in Africa relationships with others is very important. To be a part of the community is essential. Sometimes we are called upon to do things which aren't pleasant but necessary so we can be part of the community. There are also many benefits to being part of a community but today was one of those days when I was asked to do something kind of weird and unpleasant for me but necessary. Kevin has done this type of transportation many times and it has always been difficult for me to just hear about it afterwards. He has been out of the country this week at a meeting. So today when our friend came and told me that one of his relatives had died during the night I knew that I would need to help and do something for the family. His request though was for me to go to the village and pick up the person who had died and take him to the mortuary. I think my friend could tell by the look on my face that I was surprised because he quickly added that I could just stay in the truck the whole time and wouldn't have to look. So as I start off on this first time experience I began to pray that God would help me with this task. I get to the village and I just couldn't just sit in the truck. I got out and greeted everyone and sat and waited for them to prepare the body for transport. Then they brought out this man wrapped in blankets and put him in the back of the truck. Well, they left the tailgate down and the back window open and several people climbed behind with the body. I asked my friend, "aren't you going to close the tailgate?" He said, "no he was too tall and we can't." Well, all I can picture is this man falling out of the back of my truck as I'm driving down the road. Can you imagine??!! He assured me that this man would not fall out. So we start off. However, when we get into Chongwe we first have to go to the police station because a report has to be filled out since this person died at home. If he had died at the clinic we would not have needed this report. Then we proceeded to the clinic to get a doctor to check him out and make sure he was really dead. He also had to sign a paper saying as such. (Sidenote-it was kind of humorous to me to watch in the rearview mirror this doctor climb up in the back of my truck and get out his stethoscope and listen for a heartbeat on this man-but I guess it was necessary) We then proceeded to the mortuary where we dropped the deceased off. It was such a small building maybe just the size of my den and kitchen. They don't embalm people here. The mortuary is just the place they take the bodies to keep them cool until the family can come and cleanse the body and prepare it for burial. The family comes to do that on the burial day. After they have prepared the body they then take it to the church or to wherever the person will be buried. Anyway, after leaving the mortuary I took all the family that had ridden with me back to the village. I quickly made my way home and ate a quick lunch so I could head out to teach this afternoon. I'll write about that tomorrow. As I have reflected on the events of this day and this first time experience I see that it was good for me to do this. Yeah, it was a strange experience but it made me feel good that I could help a family in their time of need.

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