Hiking with the coffin up to the family's compound
Walking along the ridge line and down into the compound
Christabelle's funeral was a community affair. People throughout her farming village - situated on a lush, green mountainside with a strong river running below in the valley floor, and groves of coffee plants and banana trees on the hillside - as well as nearby villages attended. Lindsay and I and the three dialysis nurses from MBH (Ivor, Genevieve, and Mercy) were able to attend as well. She was a well-loved young lady as demonstrated by the throngs of people who came to give their last respects.
View of the village landscape
A local group of women sang, one of the village elders spoke, and I was asked to give the eulogy for the girl who touched our lives in such a dramatic fashion in such a short amount of time. We wept for Christabelle, but we rejoice in her final rest with her Father in heaven. Although a time of grieving, her funeral was a celebration of a life well lived, a reflection on her vibrant faith, and a challenge to us all to live in the present and to be appreciative for God's daily blessings.
JR giving the eulogy in the rain
September 5: I spoke with Valentine again this morning. He called to let me know he has found work in the Southwest of Cameroon, and will make the journey to his new work site in the next couple days (many families here in Cameroon live separated. Work is very difficult to find, and so husbands and wives and families are often separated by 6 or more hours of travel). He said that he and Christabelle's mother are still struggling with the loss and heartache, but that they are coping. They remain steadfast in trusting God's provision, but the loss is still fresh on their hearts and minds.
Christabelle is home. She is safe, and her journey is complete. We have been privileged to know her, to work with her, and to see her trust and steadfast faith. There is resolution.
We love you all. Thank you for partnering with us to fight for this young girl's life. God always has the better plan, so we trust in His providential will. Please pray for Christabelle's family, for healing and for strength.
JR & Lindsay
"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith."
2 Timothy 4:7
"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints."