International Ministries

Feb 21 - Death at IPK

April 13, 2010 Journal
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Feb21

Dear Friends and Family,
     IPK ( Pastoral Institute of Kikongo) is officially in mourning until Thursday. One of our second year pastoral school wives died during a C-section at the hospital yesterday. Her baby, her first, survived. IPK is in shock. Our student wife stayed at her home in our camp using several different kinds of traditional roots and herbs to assist in her labor until the baby's head had already crowned, which, according to the hospital, complicated an already complicated situation. The young mother was 21. Students, staff and Kikongo friends gathered around the body at our IPK chapel for an all night wake last night. Glen and I took shifts. I don't know how our students kept up such a high level of energy drumming, shaking rattles and singing so far into the night. (Did you know that old dental work can ache when exposed to too much drumming?) Mats were spread out all over the floor with sleeping children. This morning, instead of a traditional church service, we had the funeral  and burial.  It went well, except that part of the hole had to be dug all over again, because the diggers ran into an old coffin going in one direction. Graves are only marked temporarily here, so it is easy to forget where previous bodies have been placed.
      Yesterday afternoon, when the students received word of the death, tensions were running very high.  We were sure immersed in the culture as we tried to figure out what the issues were, and how to best deal with them.  
        In the end, our students really showed maturity, especially our graduating class.  It isn't just the young father who lost his 21 year old bride that has been put through the fire, but all of us, staff and students have been tested. The young lady was just learning how to read, and was baptized in October.    
     This afternoon we are all resting. The father of the new baby was just by. His village is a considerable distance away to the south, ( six days walk) so help from his family is out of the question. Another IPK family with a new infant has agreed to take care of this special new baby until they graduate in June. A real sacrifice. Staff is trying to think of some practical ways that we can assist the new mother as she nurses an extra baby now. Milk? Ground corn? Black eyed peas?
     Please pray for IPK as we unite around this unique challenge, and especially for our young student who has lost his wife.

Glen and Rita