Thursday, August 28, 2014

"If you were looking for the opportune moment, that was it."


This quote by the esteemed Captain Jack Sparrow from the movie Pirates of the Caribbean has been running through my brain all week. I keep thinking how maybe somebody has been wanting to donate funds to Casa Compasiva, but has delayed, thinking that maybe we don't have any critical needs right now. How wrong they would be! And what an opportune moment this is to contribute to a worthy cause!

In the last two weeks our clients have birthed five babies— three in Casa Compasiva, one a planned hospital birth with our staff, and one a Caesarean after a previous Caesarean. We are so proud of each one of these amazing ladies, ranging in age from sixteen to forty-two, who summoned up the strength and courage to bring new life into the world. And we are so privileged to be able to participate in their pregnancies-- providing quality prenatal care, praying and supporting them in their spiritual journeys, and being at their sides as their babies are born. Every one of our staff members is loving the challenge!

However, it is not without its cost. Although our staff considers what they do to be ministry at its finest, and they serve as a labour of love (pun intended...get it?), they still need to receive something for their time. Salaries, though very modest, must still be paid, and the obligatory government fees and taxes must be allotted. As it says in the King James Version, “The labourer is worthy of his hire.”

We cannot ask our doctor and midwives to make their way to Casa Compasiva in the middle of the night to meet a mama in labour. And then expect them to stay up all night with her, attend her baby's birth in the wee small hours of the morning, and then take care of mama and babe post-partum—dealing with the placenta, eye drops, Vitamin K injections, weighing, bathing, helping get nursing off to a good start, filling out charts and birth certificates, and serving breakfast to the happy family. Then after that to have a quick shower, report for their shift attending all the day-clients that arrive for their scheduled prenatal visits, teach a prenatal class, sterilize the instruments used the night before, disinfect and clean the birth room making it ready for the next mama who may arrive at any time, and then go home and make supper and care for their for their family's needs, while preparing for the possibility of a repeat performance the next night. All of that is too much for us to ask of them, yet that kind of heroic dedication is exactly what each one of our staff members displays on a regular basis--- for an average of $3.00 US per hour! Would you do the same? Could you? 


Even though our doctor and midwives serve so sacrificially, at the tiniest fraction of what they are worth, it still adds up. The payment that we receive for birth and prenatal services does not begin to cover the actual cost of providing and maintaining those excellent services. I was reminded of that yesterday as I went on a post-partum visit to sixteen-year-old Diana's house. Our midwives had spent the night with her in labour, and then she had her beautiful baby girl on Friday. Her nineteen year old husband is just beginning to get his feet under him in terms of dealing with responsibility, and he and Diana live in one room of her parents' house with all her younger brothers and sisters there, too. They literally have nothing—except a lot of love and gratitude for the loving care they received at Casa Compasiva. They realize that if they had gone to any government hospital it would have been an automatic Caesarean because of her age. And three months ago we realized that they had no ability to pay our regular birth fee, so we had awarded them the “Mother's Day” free birth “scholarship.” Some of you have contributed to that “birth scholarship” fund---thank you so much! Your investment paid huge dividends in a very precious and contented little family. Now we look forward to providing all their postpartum care, continuing in relationship with them, and building on the message of God's love for them through Jesus Christ!

Quality care costs money—it just does. And our funds are now completely depleted. I do not say that in despair, but in faith that God has gone ahead of us to provide the funds needed to pay this week's salaries and other expenses. God has been faithful in the past, is faithful today, and will be faithful tomorrow—we know that. And perhaps He wants to use you to show His faithfulness. So, to paraphrase Captain Jack Sparrow, “If you were looking for the opportune moment to give to Casa Compasiva ...this is it!”

-Lila Joy