Three phone calls

Written by Claude and Ruth Baraberewe

In the eyes of the world it would seem that our ministry here in the upcountry town of Mwaro is insignificant. No big ministry. No big buildings. No big numbers.


We are seeing God use our “Yes” to serve Him here and it is beautiful in the brokenness around. Here is just a short description of some of what we have been involved with in the last couple of weeks.

Friends here in our town were expecting their first baby. I (Ruth) told the husband, please phone us day or night when your wife goes into labour and we will happily take her to the hospital. There are not many people in our little town who have a car and in the past Claude has helped to take people to the hospital in the middle of the night or helped transport the body of a neighbour’s relative who died at home to the hospital morgue. Anyway, one night at 2am Claude and I both woke up to find many missed calls on both of our phones. Our friend had called us as his wife had gone into labour. Claude phoned back but we had missed our opportunity to help…we had slept through the phone calls, the knocking on the gate, the dog barking and the nightguard knocking on our bedroom window! Thankfully, our friends had managed to get hold of someone with a moto and she gave birth 30 minutes after arriving at the hospital… all rather quick for a first baby. We were so relieved when the Papa called at 3am to tell us the good news. And we were finally able to fall back asleep. We helped drive the new Mama and her new baby boy home later that day, which relieved some of the guilt of missing the phone calls and knocking in the previous night. The Mama told me not to worry about it and the moto ride had probably helped move the labour along! Probably very true with the last stretch of the journey an unpaved bumpy road.

A week later our night guard knocked on the window just before we went to bed. When we asked if he was ok, he explained no and could he leave early the next morning to go home…he then went on to share that his sister-in-law had just died at home. We asked if she had been sick…just a bad tooth and she had been to the doctors twice in the past week. And now she has gone. I was SO angry. This was probably an avoidable death. A Mama of 3. Two school-aged children and a breastfeeding baby. Just like that a phone call of death. I couldn’t sleep all night. Just thinking of those children and why why why? We prayed for life, but the next day our nightguard, his brother and the family dug a hole on the mountainside and buried the Mama. We are helping with formula milk for the baby. Claude went to visit the maternal Grandmother who is caring for the baby and the Papa who has lost his wife. He took a small parcel of baby clothes, milk formula and a bottle. Excitingly he was able to share the gospel with these dear people and the Grandmother accepted Jesus as her Saviour. As this dear woman is sacrificially giving herself to care for this little baby, she is experiencing the sacrificial love of Papa God. We will continue to visit each month to take milk and disciple this Grandmother.

Another week later on a Sunday afternoon a friend called us with panic in her voice. Could we help. Her sister-in-law was in labour and the baby wasn’t due for another 6 weeks. Claude jumped in the car and drove so fast on the dirt bumpy road. As he arrived near the house he could see them, and they were carrying a bundle…she had given birth on the side of the road with another Mama to help her. Into the car they all got and drove to the little Red Cross clinic. Is the baby ok? Is the Mama ok? I was phoning Claude but not getting answers and he wasn’t getting answers from the Grandmama because questions are just not asked in this medical culture. But finally, news, they are both doing fine. A girl. Six weeks early. But a head full of hair and able to feed so only one night in the clinic. I gathered some baby clothes and went to see. They weren’t prepared so they were so thankful for the clothes and the flask of tea. Claude could drive them home the next day. Praising God that phone call number 3 had a happy ending.