Francis: handsome, loving and finally whole

 

Francis, the two and a half year old son of my security guard and his wife who is my housekeeper in Uganda, Isaac and Agnes, died this morning. It was a short but happy and loved life. And whilst I am very, very sad…..because i loved Francis………I am also happy for him.

Francis was the main reason that Isaac and Agnes got the jobs. I didn’t really want a security guard or housekeeper but they’re a necessity when I’m away from my house (in UK or in the village) for so much of the time. I’d met Isaac when I was staying at a local guesthouse where he was the security  guard. When he told me that his first-born was ill, Kay and I offered to go to the hospital with the little boy, Francis, Isaac and his wife, Agnes. We were with them when they got the diagnosis – Cerebral Palsy. They were delighted that Francis had been diagnosed and had no concept of how bad the news was – one of my stickier Uganda moments. It was at that point that I knew that I’d offer them a job that came with better pay, living quarters and someone to pray with them and work with them in Francis’ best interests. They have lived with me for the past 18 months.

During that time we have advocated for them, provided equipment and funds for Francis and prayed with them for this beautiful, loving little boy who was destined never to walk, talk or grow very much. Francis’ very severe mental disability was almost definitely due to malpractice during labour at the local governemt hospital and so, when Agnes fell pregnant again, J10:10 paid for her to give birth to a daughter, Prize, at the private hospital. Prize is healthy and already way more advanced than I suspect Francis would ever have been. I think that made it tougher for Agnes: a true disciple of Jesus who knew that there was little love, no help and absolutely no status in Ugandan society for a mentally-handicapped child or adult. Tough stuff.

Agnes is, of course, heartbroken. She had carried Francis around almost 24/7/365 for all of his short life. He adored her. How could anyone deal with this without an absolute belief in our God of love? When the pain subsides a little my prayer for her is that she can take comfort from the fact that Francis is, for the first time, now whole. That the God who particularly loves little children, whose only begotten son Jesus told his disciples never to turn a child away from him, will have welcomed this little boy into eternity: a place where he promises ‘no pain, no suffering, no death and that God himself will wipe every tear from  every eye’.

And Francis will have WALKED into this new, perfect eternal life. This little boy who had to be carried everywhere will walk, talk and laugh with his maker.

I am glad and honoured to have known Francis. I am glad and honoured to have seen the love that his mother had for him regardless of his earthly imperfections. And I am glad and honoured that J10:10 was able to improve his brief life. And I am SO glad that our God is a God who answers prayer. I had prayed so so so many times for Francis to be healed. And today I know with every ounce of my being that my prayer has been answered. Francis is whole and happy in heaven with my King. Alleluia.