Yesterday one of our mission workers passed away of suspected EBOLA.
Moses, was on leave for a month and had not interacted with Fr Themi for that time, but he was Mary Adams and Eleni McDermott’s personal driver; yes he was one of our people.
He was, and his family still is, one of the poor that God has given us charge over; for whatever we did for (him) one of the least of these brothers and sisters of Jesus, we did for Jesus. (Matt 25:40)
For him, we raised funds for his salary, for him, we sent rice for his wife to feed his family, for him, we built schools to educate his children, for him, we built medical clinics for his families health, for them, we built church’s so that they may know the Creator of all things and the Savior, Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God.
A Sad Day by Eleni Mcdermott
Often the things we say, the actions we take are seen through a lens of logic or common sense.
A man steals from his employer, he is fired. A man tries to cheat his employer by overcharging on car repairs, is fired. A man arrives to work a little too hung over to drive, is fired. But logical or common sense decisions do not always allow the Holy Spirit to work in the lives of employees. They do not give time for character change and they sometimes shut the door on forgiveness, love, faith and hope.
Such a man as I am describing was our mission driver (and mine and Mary Adams personal driver) in Sierra Leone. A larrikin for sure, an opportunist for sure, an impulsive man for sure. But ….so much more!
Moses Jnr – White OYF T-Shirt
A man that loved his family and felt the responsibility to provide for them. He dreamed of moving his wife and 3 children out of their little one bedroom rental, into their own 2 bedroom with a parlour home. A man that showed such humility and appreciation when you gave him eggs to take home to his wife or a text book for one of his children. A man that stubbornly refused to give permission to his wife to continue trading in the market for fear she would get Ebola. A man that never stopped telling me what a good son he had or admiring his daughter’s love for learning, “she is so clever Ms Eleni…. and you know she was baptized and has your name too”. . A man that openly cried when accusations related to his character were spitted at him in a confrontation. A man that was an excellent time keeper, always punctual and with a polite morning greeting for me and whoever else was in my office. A man who would bounce into work on Friday’s, knowing I had breakfast in the college kitchen waiting for him. It was nothing special, just some bread and spread but he always got boyishly excited about it. And finally, a man I caught sitting at the back of the church head bowed in reverence, after a particular conversation we had. Yes there was so much more to this man.
Moses Jnr Baptism
Today, the man that logically should have been fired a year ago from the mission for misdemeanors (and left to his own devices), has been taken from us.
I’m not sure of all the details leading to his death. Moses recently became sick and Fr Themi gave him money for treatment. He was hospitalized a few days ago but like so many that arrive there – he never came out. Now everyone is anxiously waiting for the results to see if it was Ebola, in which case the whole family and the compound will have to be quarantined. In the meantime, health authorities wasted no time in burying him. Ebola or not- a hole was dug and he was put in the ground. No time to arrange a burial service, perhaps not even time for a grave site prayer. No `goodbye Moses’ .
Whilst I take comfort in the fact that Rev Fr Themi will give him a memorial service as soon as possible, I feel we have been deprived (like so many Ebola victims and loved ones) the opportunity to honour him and pay our respects with a funeral.
This afternoon, I am thinking about how Fr Themi did not give up on Moses. He continued to give him a salary even when I left and he was no longer needed as a driver. Time and time again Fr Themi forgave him for his transgressions despite popular opinion that he should be told leave the mission. Perhaps in his wisdom Fr Themi was giving Moses chances to redeem himself. From my experience, every time Moses did the wrong thing, I watched him struggle with denial. But then a kind word or a deed of good to another in the days that followed, showed me that he, (like all of us) was a work in progress. After all, do we not all fall and get back up again, in the struggle to become better human beings? I believe in my heart those times of forgiveness gave Moses the opportunity to become a better man and gave time, for God’s grace and mercy to intervene.
I remember Moses’ catch phrase whenever I asked him to drive me somewhere, deliver something or simply stay close by in case needed ….“I am here for you Ms Eleni anything you need”. Moses, I will not forget your friendship and your loyalty. I will not forget your promise to be there when needed and I hope I can do the same for your children, who I know will struggle now to get an education.
I believe in the hope of life everlasting for you Moses, in a place where there is no pain or sorrow or grieving. May your memory be eternal and you rest in peace and in the knowledge that you were loved and will be missed so much by so many.