GOD IS SO GOOD!
Can you imagine burying your three daughters in an interval of 7 years?
Sebastiana and Zezé live in a rural community; some 35 kilometers from Barra do Turvo. Zezé is the coordinator of the community, a man of profound faith and trust in God. Some years ago his life was being threatened by men who invaded the community land (the descendent of the slaves hold their land in common by law). Obviously he was very shaken but as he said `God sees all, He is on the side of the poor and justice will be done in the end´.
When we got to know the family some years ago, two of their daughters were dead. One died when she was 27 and the other when she was 23. They appeared perfectly normal but had some congenital disease. When Zezé talked of them a huge sadness would come over him and one could feel his pain. Their only surviving child was a young woman, Elaine, 24 years old. She too had health problems and Zezé had to go with her frequently to the nearest hospital which is over 90 kilometers away. The trip to the hospital consisted off getting up before 5am and walking 2km to the nearest bus stop to catch the 5.40am bus. Then waiting in a queue to be attended by a doctor and coming back that same night, often without having eaten as they wouldn’t have had the money to buy lunch. Elaine was a very independent young woman, due to her ill health she could not work but she received a pension. This was carefully spent, furnishing her room, buying some clothes and helping out with the household expenses.
It appears that some weeks ago Elaine had a severe headache so, once again she and her father made the trip to the hospital. She was seen by a doctor and sent home with medicine but the pain continued, so back they return to the hospital. This time Elaine was admitted and a series of tests were done. She had a tumor on her brain. Zezé stayed by her side all this time. It was clear that she was very ill indeed but as he said `with God all things are possible, she may get better`.
Sometime before she got ill she decided that she wanted to pay for a tomb where her two sisters and an old family friend would be put to rest as they had been buried in borrowed graves. She had gone to the town office and bought a plot and then asked her father to build the tomb. Of course with all the work to be done around the farm he hadn´t got around to it so now he decided to go back home, leave Elaine in the hospital, and go into town and start on the tomb. While telling the story Sebastiana said many times, ´not that he was doubting God but when Elaine would come home it would be the first thing she´d ask about´.
As Elaine was alone in the hospital; the next day Sebastiana headed off at dawn to the hospital accompanied by her sister. When they arrived at the hospital they went to the ward where they were expecting to see Elaine, but she wasn´t there, so they were directed to a room where they were told that she had died during the night. One can only imagine their shock and sadness. They didn´t even get to see her as her body had been taken to another town for embalmment. So what were they to do now? They had to try to get word to Zezé but the bus only returned at night. Not knowing what to do they headed out of the hospital and down the street only to meet a man from Barra do Turvo walking towards them. He asked what happened and they told their sad story. Immediately he said he would drive them back! ´Isn´t God so good putting this man in our way` says Sebastiana telling us the story. When they got back they met a neighbour who said he would go and find Zezé in the town. `God was so good` says Sebastiana. Finally Zezé comes home shattered. But as he made the journey he met another neighbour who said not to worry about money, I´ll help out. Another offered too. `Isn´t God so good` repeats Sebastiana. It cost R$2000 (two thousand reais) to get the body in such a condition that they could wake her overnight.
Soon the word spread around and uncles, aunts and cousins who live some hours away all began to travel. Now Zezé´s house doesn´t have electricity but had been wired as they have been promised it for years. Someone rings the mobile and says he knows a fellow working on the roads who has a generator and he would borrow it. They came and installed it and the `house became all light´ says Sebastiana, ´isn´t God so good´. They even had lamps on the boreen to the house so the way was lit up for all. Other relatives and neighbours came with chickens, rice, beans and bread to feed all who would come. `God is so good`. And so the night and the wake passed and she was laid to rest in her tomb, but every thing that happened those days Sebastiana and Zezé saw the hand of God in it all. Their sadness is acute but their trust in God is even greater.
We only heard of Elaine´s death two weeks after it happened so we went to visit her parents. In our visit too the hand of God was present.