Defining Success

Tara, our Cross International Projects Officer (far left), chats with a half-dozen home-health caregivers in Zambia.
Tara, our Cross International Projects Officer (far left), chats with a half-dozen home-health caregivers in Zambia.

I’ve been pondering a bittersweet update from the director of a home-based health care project in Zambia, where the majority of “clients” (patients) suffer from AIDS. Volunteer caregivers from the community give the clients medicine to help boost their immune systems and push back the disease’s onslaught. The medicine comes free from the Zambian government; the catch is it must be taken with food, which the clients are too sick to farm and too poor to buy. That’s what Cross funds.

Anyway, it was cool to read the list of people who recovered so completely they were taken off the program. While they may need to continue medications, they are now well enough to earn a living, raise their children, and resume relatively normal lives. True success stories!

But it was a bummer to then read the list of those who passed on.

I wonder what the caregivers must go through when their clients pass away. They’ve visited the sick week after week, not just to give them food and meds, but to read the Bible and pray with them. These caregivers are often the only people who haven’t shunned them. According to the director, many of the clients say they have grown closer to God through their ordeal, and some have come to know Jesus Christ as their personal savior.

Come to think of it, I suppose those patients who accepted Christ before they passed on are the true success stories.

-Nola B.

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