Congratulations to Wairimu Kinuthia, our second place winner of our LittWorld 2022 Writing Contest #1: “Stronger Together. Tell the story of something you have seen or experienced in which Christians became stronger together.” In her response to the news, Wairimu wrote, “This was the best possible news to wake up to this morning. I am excited, grateful, encouraged, and full of praise to God!”
We want to thank each of our distinguished contest judges–editors Owen Salter of Australia, Sir Buma Kor Dickson of Cameroon, and Svetlana Karoleva of Bulgaria–for doing such a skilled and careful evaluation of the contest entries. In the past, we have found that participation in a writing contests often sparks a more serious commitment to writing ministry, and we pray that will be the case again this time for many participants.
Stronger When Each Part Does Its Work
by Wairimu Kinuthia
“Mum, where were you when this happened?”
This question, posed by a psychiatrist, was the worst question a mother could possibly be asked in relation to the wellbeing of her child. The bedside manners of the doctor aside, the situation at hand was dire. The child was barely half her required body weight; she would neither eat voluntarily nor stand still long enough for any calorie to attach to her bony frame.
At what point should the parents have taken notice? Was it when she hosted her 14th birthday party and ate only a salad? Or when she embarked on a “clean eating program” (read, vegetarian), or the night she served herself a ridiculous three grains of the beans (or so it seemed) and a minuscule salad for dinner, and then announced to her dumbfounded parents that it was enough?
The parents were now way over their heads in it. This “thing,” with a name too foreign and painful, had taken over their daughter’s life. Was is it a disciplinary issue? Was mum serving boring food? The dietary supplements from the nutritionist did not yield any improvement. The counselor was not making any headway, and the end of primary school national exams for the child was looming.
Things spiraled downward into a cycle of hospital admissions, including a scary stint in the high-dependence unit due to low heart rate. The pattern became clear: apparent improvement, discharge, inevitable regression, and back to hospital.
Nurse aides unable to handle this unfamiliar situation would throw in the towel after a few days. The hospital bills were piling – not to mention the anxiety – was this even covered by the health insurance?
By the fourth hospital admission, it was clear that the matter was more elephant than anyone could have imagined. Wagons of family and friends started circling. The consensus: This family could not hack it alone. Support started pouring in, fumbling but eager.
In concentric motion, one group of friends drew another, which in turn drew another. Within no time, the WhatsApp chat group of friends was oversubscribed.
Some researched treatment options. Contacts of doctors were shared. Initially, the parents were hesitant, embarrassed to have this matter seemingly ‘trending’ on social media, but the “support” took on a life of its own. A quick hand set up a prayer chain, hourly slots were quickly taken up and round the clock pleas for healing ascended up to heaven.
A spirited campaign for sacrificial giving to meet the hospital bills ensued. Friends took turns giving the weary parents a breather, at home entertaining the other children, and at the hospital keeping a watchful eye and coaxing the young patient to eat.
Two months later, sooner than any doctor had predicted or could believe, the child was discharged from hospital. She had attained the appropriate body weight and started eating voluntarily. “God told me to eat!” she said.
In the aftermath, the mother wondered, why did we have to go through this? “If not you, who?” a voice responded.
Other girls had died of this condition. This child had flirted with death; its jaws could have snatched her away except for the Christian community, the body of Christ, that came together, each member playing a special role.
Together, through each one’s unique but equally important contribution, they witnessed a miracle, an amazing turnaround to recovery and financial provision.
Many would later testify of the great encouragement this was to them in difficult circumstances. The God who did it for this family could do it for them. Yes, together, their faith and ability to empathize became stronger!
Wairimu Kinuthia, an avid storyteller, is a Kenyan woman living in Addis Ababa. She writes and edits at Timazi Magazine, blogs at My Little Stories, and offers editing and proofreading services to authors, especially in creative non-fiction. A mother of two teenagers, she loves a well-brewed cup of tea.