Friends, this post is hard to type and will be hard to read. But please join us in the valleys as you’ve joined us on the mountaintops.
You may have read our first post about the tragedy that Esther has faced. Since then many new details have come to light regarding this situation. The facts are as follows: Esther’s husband drove her and their 3 children to a village a couple hours away from Lusaka to visit with his family, specifically an ill grandmother. On the way back to Lusaka, a large hog ran across the dirt road in front of the car. Esther’s husband swerved in an attempt to avoid hitting the hog, but the car crashed in the process. The baby and oldest child were killed on impact, as seatbelts and car seats aren’t the norm in Zambia. As Esther and her middle child tried to arrange transportation for them to return to Lusaka to receive adequate medical care for their injuries, Esther’s husband fled the scene. Fear, panic, guilt- we’re not sure why he fled, just that he did.
Over the past days and weeks, Esther and her middle child have recovered from their injuries. But we have just learned that Esther’s husband was found dead outside a village near his family’s village. Details are unknown regarding the cause of death, but it isn’t good.
As you may imagine, Esther is really struggling. Her grief is unbearable. Her sorrow is intense. Her cries leave her paralyzed. No one would’ve thought that a trip to see an ill grandmother would result in the loss of 3 family members, instantaneously. Not only has she lost her husband, but she lost her friend, her partner, her provider, and her primary income source. This leaves Esther in a very vulnerable state, emotionally, physically, financially, mentally.
Our CiH family aches over this most recent news, in a situation we didn’t think could get much worse. We hate that our sister has to suffer so intensely.
As I’ve been conversing with Elina, our In-Country Director, I’ve been broken-hearted over this loss in an already difficult time in Esther’s life. But I’ve also been challenged, encouraged even.
Elina just informed me that all of the classes came together and decided it’s best for every single person of CiH- current students, past students, graduates, staff- to meet at Esther’s house tomorrow. She lives in a compound further away from our Chikondi Community Center, as she is part of our House of Moses Orphanage partnership. All 50+ people will use their own money to catch a bus to go to Esther’s house. Meeting there at 7am (after a 1+ hour trip to her house by bus). And returning back in time for their classes to resume as normal.
They have chosen to come around Esther in a profound way, offering prayers over her and her child, giving words of encouragement in this dark place, cleaning her house, and taking care of chores that Esther is unable to tackle in her current state.
They have also chosen to give donations. To give their own money, no matter how small, to Esther so that her family can survive. Let’s pause right there. Many of the current students in our class live on less than $1/day. And yet they have chosen to give generously, sacrificially, because they know the power of community, they feel the weight of their sister’s struggle. And they will help.
I didn’t prompt this. I couldn’t even dream a story so beautiful in the midst of such awful tragedy. The warm sunlight breaking through the darkest valley through 50+ people of our CiH family. Giving, not out of their excess, but out of their pockets, out of their already-strained finances.
This is what Clothed in Hope is all about. Take away the classes, take away the products. Stripped down, we are about community. We are about exposing others to a life-changing HOPE that can’t help but be shared in a profound and moving way. We are about visiting our sister in her distress, in leaning down with others in their struggle to sit with them but also to rise with them. Sure we are about breaking the cycle of poverty, but we’re also about thriving in the midst of poverty and anguish and loss. Because HOPE is greater than fear. Love greater than pain. Community stronger than crippling isolation.
While the visit to Esther’s house will be when many of us are sleeping (Midnight-3am EST), I invite you to carve out your own 7-10am or any other time during the day tomorrow to offer your own thoughts and prayers for Esther. This community is strong, and you are just as much a part of it as those 50 traveling the distance to meet with their dear sister and her son tomorrow morning.
We are here for her emotionally, spiritually, physically, and practically as we work closely with her neighbors, friends, and classmates to work toward a long-term solution for Esther and her child. And we are grateful for a family so supportive, so sacrificially generous, serving as a light in this dark world.
With Chikondi (Love),
Some of you have expressed interest in wanting to give to help Esther with her immediate expenses like rent payments, food, school fees for her middle child. We are so encouraged by your kind and generous hearts. If you would like to donate for this specific need, click on the button below:
Also, if you would like to share an encouraging quote, word, verse, or prayer, you may leave it in the comments section and it will be translated for Esther and/or our CiH ladies to hear. Thank you for your outpouring of love.