The Story of “Nemma/Grace” – D.R. Congo, May 2019


There is no end to the hard and tragic stories of life in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Here’s another one with some, as yet, hopeful signs.

Dana, the “better half” of the Ted-Dana team with whom I stayed in Bunia, DRC, received word that a newborn had been brought to the Sisters of Charity Orphanage where Dana, a Pediatrician, volunteers. She had already been out there once and given some counsel and prescriptions for this new arrival. Heading out for a follow-up visit, she invited me along. “Sure, let’s go.”

On the way, she gave me the back-story. In a village outside of Bunia, someone had given birth and had thrown the newborn into a latrine. She also threw down a big rock, hoping to silence/kill the little one. It only broke her leg. Sometime afterwards, someone went in, and the ensuing urine-shower caused the little baby to cry. The good Samaritan went down into the 8-foot deep hole of …., and gently pulled the little one out. Dana’s first examination had shown the little baby girl to be suffering with acute malaria, along with the apparent leg-trauma.


The little bundle began to respond to the meds for her malaria and to the milk and love she was receiving from the over-worked and over-stretched staff. Dana was encouraged by what she saw at our visit, but continued to encourage the staff in their care for her. We learned that they had named her “Nemma,” which, in the local language, means “Grace.” What a perfect name for a little, helpless, rejected nugget who had been plucked out of the __________ (fill in the blank!)

So, into the darkness, brokenness, violence and quasi-hopelessness of life in the DRC, through the hands of God’s servants, a ray of His light and love and Life penetrated into this tiny parcel of foul, refuse-laden real estate where a weak and miniscule image-of-God bearer struggled for breath.

May this little “Graced one” grow up to discover the source of all grace and of all Life, Jesus Christ, and may she be a powerful messenger of that grace and Life to all of her fellow Congolese brothers and sisters who so need it.



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