Den_breejen_2011 Posted by Aart and Geesje den Breejen on Thu, 03 May 2012 | 0 comments | Bookmark: digg this Post this to Post this to Facebook

It was at a wedding at St Philips, a small parish church in Arua, when I got a phone call from home telling me that my mum had said it was time to return to the Netherlands. Flight arrangements were made immediately and two weeks later she left her life on earth. That was in 2008.

Yesterday, I was again at St Philips, this time for a service to give thanks for the life of Sister Grace. Her heavenly Father had called her home too.

The church was full – Sister Grace was a senior nurse at the local hospital and was well respected. She meant a lot for people around her and especially for mothers with HIV/AIDS. Her life was a testimony of her relationship with Jesus Christ and now a comfort for those who mourned her loss but shared her faith.

The burial was today in the village. It took the whole day. The hospital had arranged for transport to go the funeral site. Women sang hymns during the bus ride to get there. There are so many funerals here in Arua that you hear it all the time: pick-ups, lorries full of people singing on their way to a funeral, and one does not give it much thought. This time it felt different being one of them and I could sense the comfort of singing together.

At arrival the waiting started. Plenty of time to think. The bus went to and fro to get everyone gathered and finally the service started.

During the ceremony I recognised so many familiar faces; hospital staff, clergy, children of Sister Grace, her oldest sister. Memories were flooding back, from the time that Sister Grace was still undergoing chemotherapy in Kampala (something she did not take for granted as most Ugandans will not be able to afford the costs). Sister Grace was then telling about her childhood, her family, her training and work as a nurse, hardship and blessings. She shared her faith and we had a very special time when also her oldest sister joined in for prayer. By then she still had the hope of spending some more time with her loved ones here but realised that the end could be very hard. Bringing it all before the Lord in prayer was a tremendous comfort for all three of us. It still is.

Many mothers from the project, attending the funeral, were sobbing their hearts out. Sister Grace would come to the hospital every day, whether she was on duty or not, to see to the HIV mothers that delivered that day or night. To give the new born babies all the chances she could give, to prevent transmission of HIV from mother to child. Her life with us has not been a lost life. So many people shared that Sister Grace has been a shining example of God’s love for the world. Her service here on earth has ended and she is called Home.

It made me realise once more that whatever we can now do in Christ’s name has value for ever.

Aart and Geesje den Breejen

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