One night we were settling down to sleep, enjoying the night breeze which offered relief from the long hot day, when Carrie and I heard the familiar greeting “Salam alekoum” right outside of our door. Two women had come to speak with us, robed in black, their head veils pulled down low over their faces. I had never met them.
I sat down with them on a mat under the stars and waited for them to speak. The older of the two explained in a shaky voice, that a young girl had been sent by her parents to live with her for several months. Now the girl was pregnant, and showing. The woman could not possibly bear the shame of sending her back to her parents in that state. She wanted to know: did I have a pill that could take care of that? I tried as best I could in my limited Arabic to explain God’s love for this young girl and her child.
Three days later, we lost our fourth child to a miscarriage. As we walk through our grief, I cannot help but reflect on the irony of these two unborn children. The one, growing strong in his mother’s womb, but unwanted. The other, wanted and loved, but taken. I pray every day that the elderly woman, veiled in black and scared to death, was able to receive the word of God’s love. Perhaps someday we will meet the young girl’s child, and love him.
Nathanael and his wife Carrie serve with Lutheran Brethren International Mission as missionaries.