A few months back we had a spell of drama in our community. One of the Episcopal Pastors got a young girl from his congregation pregnant out of wedlock. She was only 15. Her brothers found out when her belly couldn’t be hidden anymore and retaliated by beating the pastor’s brother with a club.
He died in our clinic later that night.
Revenge killing is common in this culture. They don’t kill the offending person but someone close to him. They want to cause the offender as much pain as possible. If you only kill them... they won’t suffer nearly as much.
When there is a revenge killing in this culture, everyone goes into hiding --especially the relatives. Anyone can be victim. Mothers. Cousins. Friends. They try to find a close relative to kill but if they can’t they will take anyone they can find. But there seems to be a rule to all this killing. It must be done within three days.
Pastor Peter, when he learned of his brother’s death, decided to retaliate as well. He (and a friend) couldn’t find any of Rebecca’s brothers within the time limit, so he found an old man from her village and killed him instead. He then ran off with Rebecca without paying the bride price. The whole town was a stir. The church was in shock.
Scandal. Rumors. Gossip.
A few weeks later, Rebecca and Peter were caught and BOTH put in prison.
I asked the locals why they would put HER in prison, as well, since her only sin was getting pregnant. The answer I got surprised me. They explained that it was also her fault since she could have refused him. (! Insert bitter sarcasm here and a few choice words! @%$^#*! This may be one thing I’ll NEVER understand in this culture.)
A few months later, they released her on bail. It's no good having a very pregnant woman in jail.
Fast forward a few months to last night.
Just as I was wrapping up for the day, Rebecca waddled in with her mother. She spent the first few minutes of our conversation on the floor in a strong contraction.
I didn’t recognize her right away.
Slowly, as we talked of contractions and ruptured membranes, did it occur to me this was THAT Rebecca. I couldn’t help but smile inside. Finally, something beautiful was coming out of this chaos and pain.
I checked her into the clinic even though she was only 3 cm along. I wasn’t sure how fast she’d go since this was her first baby. I guessed she’d deliver in the wee hours of the morning. But I was wrong.
She dilated to fully in only 3 hours while laboring almost exclusively on her knees. She pushed like a pro and breathed her baby’s head out! It was amazing!
When she was done, the smile on her face was contagious! She was radiant! What’s more is... she was delighted! It was a joy to see! Beautiful!
So yes, this bouncy baby boy may have started his life in rumors and heartbreak but I don’t think it will end that way. He is the proof of the transgression. But he is also proof of love. The love of his Heavenly Father that knit him together and filled his lungs with air!
My prayer is that he will one day praise Him with those lungs and show the world what forgiveness and grace REALLY looks like!
Pray for Rebecca and her mother Mary.... and of course No-Name-Baby-Boy! Pray they’ll be accepted in the town they are moving to and have enough to eat. Pray God will provide all of their needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus. Thanks.