Gloria’s Home-Going

Posted by on Apr 15, 2013 in Personal Updates | 0 comments

On Tuesday, March 26th, we laid Gloria, our eldest House of Hope daughter, in the arms of our Heavenly Father. With broken hearts, a lot of tears, and a lot of love, we stood with our precious children from our home, as they were comforted by the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Gloria, was one of our first four girls in House of Hope.  She came to us from a World Vision referral. Several years after her arrival, we began to have the children’s blood screened for all kinds of diseases (that is not a normal procedure here), and we found that Gloria was positive for Hepatitis B.

We were advised to immunize the other children, to monitor her, and to continue a good diet and atmosphere for all. Gloria finished primary school with flying colors and had gone on to secondary school (high school). She was doing well, loved by her friends and as happy and healthy as all the other children in our home.

A week before her death, Gloria contracted malaria. Although this is not unusual here, the vomiting that came with hers was. We admitted her to Lacor Catholic Hospital in Gulu, one of the best hospitals in the country. I liaisoned with the doctors as they treated her and began scans on her abdomen, which had started to swell rapidly. They found ascites, which is related to liver failure, and though they continued pulling fluid from her abdomen, the swelling would reoccur.

We had people with her in the hospital around the clock. Peter and Natalie, our wonderful new house parents from Indiana, visited her daily, as well as myself. She was being covered with an immense amount of prayer from her brothers and sisters at House of Hope, as well as from church members and others. We were believing for the miracle from God that the doctors could not promise.

Gloria

Gloria

Gloria’s spirit was strong, and even though her abdomen was still distended, she was anxious to be home with her siblings. She did a lot of walking up and down the hallways, but longed to be in her own home on the beautiful countryside of our children’s village.

As we continued to talk with the doctors, they gave us two options. One was to start her on maintenance drugs, which could only be purchased from Nairobi or South Africa (they are not available in Uganda). The other was to begin to look for donors for a liver transplant either in the UK or in India. We were scheduled to meet with the doctors at the time of her discharge to discuss and immediately pursue both of those options.  We also planned for her to come home within the next few days but, instead, were shocked at a sudden turn of events.

On Tuesday morning, the hospital gave Gloria a new kind of medication for pain and performed a new treatment on her. Peter and her relatives had been with her then, while I was coming again in the evening. But in the mid-afternoon, we received a phone call from one of our house moms who was at her bedside, saying that Gloria had gone to be with Jesus.

In tears, we rushed to the hospital and found it was true. The house mom related Gloria’s last words to us. She said “Momma, I see Jesus and heaven, and He is coming for me. I’m going, Bye-bye.” The Momma said, “No, Gloria, you’re not going.” But Gloria said it again, “Yes, Momma, I’m going. I see Jesus and heaven.” And she was gone, instantly in the arms of her Heavenly Father.

As I stood at the hospital weeping and asking “Why God, why?” I saw Jesus on the cross and His mother kneeling at its foot weeping. And Jesus, in all His pain and agony, said, ‘Don’t weep for me, weep for yourself’. As I saw that scene, I instantly heard Gloria say the same. “Don’t weep for me, Momma, I am fine and happy, dancing and rejoicing. Weep for yourself, that you finish the work He has given you to do.”

We spent the evening with Peter and Natalie and the children, crying, praying, and then worshiping together. This was the first “valley of the shadow of death” we had walked through as a House of Hope family. Even in all our grief, the comfort of the Holy Spirit drew us closer together. How I thank God for Peter and Natalie’s loving care in our children’s home. They have been a God-send, and the children love them dearly as “Mom and Dad.”

Gloria’s funeral was on Thursday, March 28, and we focused on celebrating her life together. The message of salvation was preached, and one of her relatives gave their life to Jesus. Our children, her extended relatives from the village, her friends from school, and all the people at church who love her dearly were there with us.

The day after her home-going service was Good Friday. We again remembered death in order to celebrate resurrection. And how we rejoice as children of God, looking forward to our resurrection with the Lord Jesus, where we will share in His glory forever with new bodies, no tears, and eternal joy.

Until then, our hope and our joy is to walk in His resurrection life and power and to continue in His calling until we, too, see Him face to face.

Carole Ward

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