Monday, August 29, 2011

Family Planning?

I was asked recently by a visiting Ugandan what kind of family planning is used around here and my mind went blank.

“Family planning?” I said dumbly back to him, “It’s called sex and .... then more sex. That’s how they plan their family here.” And then we laughed. 

No. What he really wanted to know what what kind of birth control was used. But then again I knew what he was asking... I just didn’t know the answer.

Instead I went on to explain that everyone I know wants to be pregnant; no one wants to stop it.

When a woman miscarries her whole family is distraught. When it’s chronic they think she’s been cursed.

But after explaining this... he still didn’t fully grasp it. How do I explain to this African man --a man born and raised just a few hundred miles from here-- just how different life is in Sudan.

Seriously, how?

Here, babies are not aborted even if they are conceived out of wedlock. In fact, some girls get pregnant by a family friend with the clear agreement that if she produces a healthy child he’ll marry her. It’s not only condoned by the family... it’s arranged by them.

Like I said there is much planning when it comes to families here.

Family planning.

There are no condoms and no birth control pills here. I’ve never heard of anyone wanting an IUD or tubal ligation. I have yet to hear anyone ask for an abortion.

In fact most women will do just about anything to conceive if they feel there is a problem. They will pay just about any price.

I met a young girl named Aguak today. She is one of those women. Even though she has three healthy babies at home, she has had trouble getting pregnant this year. So she went to the herbalist (aka: witchdoctor).

She paid him four goats (the equivalent of about $600.00 -- a fortune here!) and he gave her a gray clumpy concoction that she was instructed to drink. It would help her conceive he promised.

That was 4 months ago and she’s still not pregnant. 

However, this week she came to our clinic and heard the gospel for the first time and received Christ. The joy of her salvation was evidenced on her face as she sat in church.

Praying for Aguak to be free of witchcraft.
Afterward she showed us her concoction and asked us to pray. We prayed for her to be set free from any hold the witchcraft might have on her, and she happily threw it in the toilet.

Throwing out her herbs in faith.
Before she did though, we looked at it closely. Small maggots the size of pin heads floated on the surface. Clumps of rancid gray blobs moved beneath the surface.

She was supposed to drink that?

Like I said, they will do just about anything to get pregnant.

Please pray that God would open her womb and allow her the joy of bringing another child into the world. May she see Him as the Author of life like never before! 

Better yet, let's pray for every woman desperately hoping to conceive right now. Let's pray for that faint fluttering of a precious child to be felt moving in their wombs!