One of the hardest things to reconcile while living overseas in a developing country is the ever-present reality of suffering. One of the reasons we do what we do, and why MAF programs are located where they are, is to help ease this suffering. But often we see suffering and know we can’t do anything to change the situation. Our coworkers and neighbors frequently have family members die from things we know would be treatable in the United States. The life expectancy here in Mozambique is 53, which tells you how common death is.
Another example of this has haunted me since Sunday. After church we gave a woman a ride to the hospital. She is the wife of one of the guards that used to work for us. They were the first couple to have a wedding at our small mission church, which was cause for great celebration. She had surgery about a year ago and again more recently, but now doctors are saying there is nothing more they can do for her. Too weak to walk on her own, our pastor helped the woman get from her house to our car as there was no path wide enough to drive a car to her house. As we left the hospital we were hopeful that the staff could at least alleviate some of her pain.
When I experience things like this, it helps me remember to not become callous to the suffering around me. I can see how the medical flights we do are meaningful and how life-changing they can be to the individual. When I think of my family members who have had surgeries recently, I am reminded to be thankful for the treatment they have available. And as I see those whose faith remains strong in spite of suffering, it reminds me that I cannot associate God’s goodness with an easy life. An easy life is not promised to any of us, no matter where we live.