The hike to the village of Ngibat while not physically exhausting was the scariest most adrenalin pumping hike of my life!
It took us more than one hour of sliding down steep inclines to arrive there from the village of ButBut Proper. Most places was just enough room for one foot in front of the other with the chance of falling in a rice field on one side or a hundred foot drop off on the other. Just as we entered the village the skies opened and the rain came pouring down. I was grateful for God’s grace knowing had that rain came ten minutes earlier making that hike even more slippery I would have surely fallen off the mountain and died.
The next morning we started our outreach and learned that there were only two pregnant women in the whole village. Now I know what you are thinking all that preparation, insane hiking, another meal of sardines and sleeping on a hard floor for two lousy prenatals?!? But we were actually beeming with joy and probably even more enthusiastic with this outreach than all the others.
The guys that had come with us had been playing the guitar and singing worship songs all morning as we prepared the snack of pancit. When the first woman came in I rushed to interview her. I found out this was *Marilou’s second pregnancy. Last year in her first pregnancy she had gone for all of her regular prenatal checkups. Everything had been normal throughout her pregnancy but when it came time to deliver the midwife was not in the village.
Marilou labored for a day before deciding to go to the hospital. While in labor she hiked for over an hour down the mountain then took a jeep to the nearest hospital two hours away. By the time she arrived at the hospital her blood pressure had spiked to 160/100. She remained in labor another four days until a cesarean section was performed. Unfortunately after only 30 minutes of birth her baby quit fighting and went to be with Jesus. Due to her hypertension she hemorrhaged and was left to heal not only a great physical trauma but an emotional one as well.
Obviously Marilou was extra concerned and nervous about this pregnancy. During the last part of the checkup I attempted to find the baby’s heartbeat even though it was still quite early. I prayed to find it knowing this would bring this anxious mother a lot of peace. I placed my hand on her tummy and moved the Doppler around listening to the static… the guys had started singing again and I found myself concentrating more on their words. What were they singing that had intrigued me so? Aaaah, ‘How Great Thou Art’ in Butbut! And then there it was… LubDubb LubDubb… We both giggled, smiled and teared up! Had she been the only pregnant lady in Ngibat that insane hike that left most of us with cuts and bruises would have still been worth it!!!
Yes Lord how great, awesome and amazingly loving you are!
* – not real name