In America, we kind of joke about this–mostly because life isn’t really all that hard. I’m not saying Americans don’t experience difficult things or go through trials, but life is not that hard for the majority of people that I know in America, or at least it wasn’t for me.
In Ethiopia, no one laughs at this saying. Literally, for Ethiopians, life is hard and then they die. Life is hard. Every day is hard–not for all Ethiopians, but for the majority. Also, death is just not viewed in the same way here that it is in the US. Chris and I had a first hand experience with this last week.
We were sitting outside and heard tires squealing and a loud pop! It sounded like two cars collided and a tire maybe popped off one of them. Chris didn’t really care too much, but my dad, Gavin and I decided to check out the commotion. We got over to the accident and I could quickly tell that it wasn’t two cars that collided, it was one bus and one man. I sent Gavin home to get Chris. There just aren’t loads of medical professionals in this country, so I thought maybe he could help. He joined me at the scene along with dozens, perhaps hundreds, of Ethiopians. None of the Ethiopians seemed to know what to do, so Chris took the man’s pulse. It was clear that he was in agony. He was unconscious, at best. Chris began to examine the man for injuries as there was a large pool of blood on the road. He determined that the blood was all coming from a large, open wound in the man’s head. We sincerely believe the man was likely brain dead on impact, but his heart continued to beat for at least 20 minutes. Some people wanted to move him, but there was no where to take the man and this could have just done more damage if his spine was injured, so he just laid in the street, slowly dying. His breaths were agonized and he never blinked. Chris continued to monitor his pulse and we asked many people to get the police to the scene. I just cried out to Jesus for this man, knowing that there was little hope he was a born again believer.
It took the police around 30 minutes to arrive at the scene and by then, the man had expired. Chris closed the man’s eyes and we just tried to keep people away from him–from stepping on his feet and hands. When the police arrived, they asked me if the man was dead. I confirmed that he was. They checked his pockets for ID, there was none. No one in the hundreds of people crowded around recognized him, so he was covered up and they made plans to transport him to a hospital. At the last minute, a man came up and asked to see the man’s face. He recognized him and headed to the man’s home to tell his family. We later learned that this man left behind a wife and five children, the youngest just three years old. He was also a Mslm.
I don’t know what happened in those 20-30 minutes while his heart remained beating and he had breath left in him between him and God. I do know that God is a gracious God and loves each and every person. I pray that the man met Him in those final moments and had one more chance to believe and accepted. We are also praying for his family–for his young wife left to care for these five children and for their salvation, as well. Please join us in praying for them.
Life is hard here and then people die. It was very sobering to be a part of that process. That would NEVER happen in the US, but everything is just so different here. I am glad we were there with him to pray and to attempt to provide medical assistance. Please continue to pray for his family and for the many, many Ethiopians that do not have hope beyond death. Life is hard and then people die. We are trying to give our neighbors a little more hope than this, an eternal hope, while we are here.