CONGO – May 2019 – The Story of “Nemma/Grace”


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 showed the little baby girl to be suffering from 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!) and placed into the hands of life & love-givers!


The cycle of violence, injustice and death continues in Congo but, in contrast and in opposition to this darkness, the light and grace of God is breaking through in little and, yet, beautiful life-giving and life-transforming acts through the hands of His servants.