Finding Joy in the Journey – Your Weekly Reflection from CMMB
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. Indeed, the Lord is near.
In this Sunday’s Gospel we continue our Advent journey through John the Baptist. John, now in prison, sent word to Jesus asking if he is God’s Messiah. Jesus responded by pointing to the miracles that he had performed. Jesus then praised John for his role in preparing the way for God’s kingdom. He called John the greatest person ever born and said that all those who work for the Kingdom of God will be as great as John and even greater.
The third Sunday of Advent is traditionally called Gaudete Sunday, from the Latin word meaning “rejoice.” Today we light the pink candle in our Advent wreath to remind us to look for the joy that is all around us as we draw ever nearer to the birth of our Lord.
So very long ago, Baby Jesus was born into a broken world, surrounded by little more than a loving family and wrapped in a meager swaddling cloth.
For us at CMMB, that story is all too familiar. Every day children in poverty-stricken countries are born in the very same way. When women suffer maternal complications in low resource areas, mothers and babies often die. And for the babies who do survive the death of their mothers, few reach their first birthday. But there is reason to hope.
CMMB is committed to reducing maternal and child mortality and morbidity. We collaborate with local health facilities and personnel to provide consistent, integrated services to women of childbearing age, pregnant women, and newborns.
In South Sudan, even the simplest issues during pregnancy are life-threatening to mother and child. Over the past several years, we have focused our attention on this problem. Through our Safe Motherhood Project, we offer antenatal and postnatal care, prevention of mother-to-child transmission, safe deliveries with a skilled birth attendant at a well-equipped health facility, and inpatient services to treat medical conditions in pregnancy.
We start out by mentoring community health workers so they can identify and monitor pregnant women in their area. Community health workers are an accepted part of the community, but they do not have all the proper skills required to care for mothers in emergency or non-emergency situations. We train them to refer mothers to health care facilities to give birth. They link expectant mothers to essential services, like getting them mosquito nets to prevent malaria and supporting women experiencing gender-based violence.
Since 2016 at our primary healthcare clinic in Nzara, over 1,800 babies were delivered. Not one of the mothers died while giving birth.
Letasha was one of the mothers that were saved because she sought and received care. At eight months, she began feeling very sick. When she arrived at the Ezo Center, she was diagnosed with malaria and was bleeding—preventable and treatable conditions that often result in death among pregnant women here. “I was very lucky,” says Letasha. “I’ve never had [an ultrasound] before and the doctor was able to detect what was wrong with my health…I could have lost my life.”
When a pregnant woman comes to the hospital in distress, when she and her baby are at risk of dying, and we are able to give them the care they need so that they leave healthy and happy…well nothing brings me more joy.
—Dr. Andruma Mustapha, St. Therese Hospital
We are grateful to our generous supporters who make the Safe Motherhood Project possible, including the African Mission Health Foundation, Sudan Relief Fund, Proctor & Gamble, and you, our many loyal supporters.
During these days before Christmas let us prepare in prayer with gratitude and keep our minds in Christ, the true source of our joy.
CMMB/Healthier Lives Worldwide