“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. The righteous person faces many troubles, but the LORD comes to the rescue each time.” —Psalm 34:18-19
As Munang’andu Chilobe returned to her home following a funeral in 2005, she could see she had a lot of work to do in her garden.
She and her family live in Haangumba village in southern Zambia. Her 5-year-old son, Wise, wanted to help his mother, so he and his cousin, Francis, took buckets to the local water hole to gather water for her.
They were just trying to help. But Wise, unable to swim, fell into the deep water and began struggling.
“Francis tried to save him,” the mother says. “He started shouting for help. Francis couldn’t pull him out. He fell in too. He was also drowning. He kept shouting. Then his energy faded.”
Munang’andu’s sister heard the shouting, so the two ran to the water hole and dragged the boys out.
“Wise was dead. Francis was gasping,” Munang’andu says. “We forced him to vomit. We tried everything with Wise. He was not breathing.”
They took Francis to a nearby health clinic, and they were able to save him, but Wise did not survive. Her joyful son was gone.
Her son’s death was a double blow to her spirits — her husband had died in a car accident earlier that year.
The grief seems unfathomable for Munang’andu, now 41, who still deeply feels the pain of her losses. Join us in praying for her, her family, and the work World Vision is doing to ensure other children like Wise don’t needlessly die.
Suggested prayer points
“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted …”
In the midst of Munang’andu’s grief, she leaned heavily on her faith for encouragement. “For me to go through this is because I depended on God,” she says. “ … I asked God, ‘Help me go through this, but please don’t make me feel this again.’”
Great Comforter, thank You for being close to Munang’andu during her time of grief. No matter how much time passes, she feels her losses deeply, so continue to bring her comfort and peace as she mourns. Stay close to others like her who are brokenhearted as they grieve
“… he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.”
God used Munang’andu’s church community to encourage her when she felt hopeless. “My church played a very big role in trying to minimize the effects,” she says. “But mostly I just prayed — I prayed for hope.”
Wonderful Savior, we’re grateful that You used Your church to help Munang’andu in her suffering. Empower Your people with wisdom and the right words to support others as they encounter difficulties. And for people living in places where few or none know You, fill them with a sense of Your love, peace and presence, so it may point them toward You.
“The righteous person faces many troubles …”
Munang’andu faces other problems on top of her grief. Because her community doesn’t have a borehole well, she now fears her family drowning at the waterhole that claimed her son. Now she fetches water there herself four times a day for her family — her three other children and their grandmother.
Sovereign Lord, while we know You control all things, living in that circumstance is still hard. Be with Munang’andu and her family despite the troubles they face day in and day out. Envelop them in Your presence so they may feel calm as they face life’s challenges.
“… but the LORD comes to the rescue each time.”
World Vision is preparing Munang’andu’s community for a borehole well by teaching proper sanitation and hygiene practices. “If we had a borehole, he wouldn’t have died,” she says. “He would have gone … and cranked out water.” Once each family builds a toilet, a trash pit, a hand-washing station, a bathing shower, and a dish rack, then the community can be considered for a borehole.
Father, thank You for the work You have begun in Munang’andu’s village. Equip and empower community members to learn and complete the necessary preparations to receive a borehole. Guide World Vision staff and volunteers as they train and prepare to drill. Bless the well that is built, so that it may work for many years to come.
Written by Kristy J. O’Hara and Kari Costanza