By God’s grace I completed the second cycle of malaria meds over the next week and slowly felt the malaria symptoms subside.
There was no sonogram at that point in our town. No way to check on the baby. I panicked at every tummy cramp and longed to feel the baby move. Just to be sure.
I began living in constant fear of another relapse. When the days would grow warm, I would fret. Was my sweating from a fever? Could we survive it again?
I continued to struggle with nausea and vomiting and I remained very dehydrated. We called doctors and prayed and I barely moved from my bed.
I recalled the story of Adoniram Judson and his wife Ann. They are known as the first American missionaries and they served in India. Ann suffered long with fever that ultimately took her life. She spent nearly two years alone with her sickness. I pathetically wondered if that was in fact my fate. It was a strange cycle of emotions. I lay on that bed because I could not physically move anywhere else. I missed my family so much during those days. There was little TV to watch (power was sporadic), no distraction. Just hour after hour of staring at those walls. And listening to that cow.
One evening, I sank lower than ever before. My spirit cried out to God with groans that words cannot express. I thought that maybe I was already insane. I spoke out loud, “God I feel so alone.”
The words were not even completely out of my mouth, when my phone rang.
Now, you could not fully comprehend my astonishment over this fact unless you had driven our muddy roads and viewed our phone lines. Draped through trees, tied in bows around wooden poles…cut and stolen. Phone lines were a delicate matter and rarely ever worked. Phone calls were a test of endurance and patience. And calls from the States were unexpected and usually impossible.
I stared at the ringing phone in shock. I wondered if it might be God. ☺ Only He could make those silly phone lines work!
The voice I heard was my Mam-ma’s. She said, “Is that my Cheryl?!?!” I couldn’t answer well because of my tears. She rattled on about the weather and her menu for the week and Granddaddy’s lawnmower repair and her own pregnancies and she made some joke about pantyhose that had me in stitches…Mam-ma.
Yep, God was definitely in on that call.
Mam-ma talked for 45 minutes. I gently laid the phone in its cradle after the “I love yous” were said.
And the phone rang again.
I kid you not.
With reverent tone, I answered.
Amy. My best friend, Amy. She had just had her first baby boy. Twins were around the corner for her (though I don’t think we knew that yet?) She talked about pregnancy, and medications, and she encouraged me. She was always encouraging me. I cleaned out a box of greeting cards recently. Cards we received during our first years in Africa. Probably every third or fourth card was from Amy. Can’t say with words how much she means to me. That evening discussion was fellowship I drank in like a dry sponge. My best friend. Forty five minutes of love, friendship and laughter.
I hung up, astonished at God’s abundant provision and perfect timing.
And that phone rang for a third time.
I answered to a fellow missionary who told me I had been on her mind all day and that she was praying. Was I okay? I told her the truth. And I praised God.
I slept well that night. Not insane. Not alone.
(to be continued...)