Josy Update #4
It’s been several months since I last wrote an update about Josy. If you receive our monthly newsletters, (or if you don’t and want to… sign up by dropping us a line here) you know that his health has stabilized, he’s been receiving dialysis 3 times a week while living in Tana which is a 12-hour drive from his family. Life has returned to Josy… to his body, to his eyes, to his spirit. Back in January, Josy was just days away from death, his body shutting down completely.
The grace of God is beyond measure and His mercy over Josy’s life is such a testimony to this. Once Josy’s health stabilized, we began discussions with Josy and his physician about treatment options, including long-term dialysis and kidney transplant. The only problem… we live in one of the top 10 poorest countries of the world. Kidney transplant and the full scope testing and medications that goes along with it are not offered in this country of 22+ million people. The few people that have the finances to have a kidney transplant, must travel to South Africa, India or China. Josy is far from that financial excess category.
We prayed. You prayed. People in dozens of countries who have never met Josy but who have heard his story, prayed. And God heard each and every one of those prayers whispered, just as He always does. He is faithful to listen.
We gave money. You gave money. Tons of people gave thousands of dollars to sustain Josy’s dialysis and ultimately his life. And God was merciful and Josy’s life was spared.
One family prayed and gave $50,000 for a transplant surgery. WHAT? yes! And God was faithful to provide according to His plans.
And so Josy began the process of speaking with his family — and his brothers all began to get the preliminary testing done. One brother, Redy, was a perfect preliminary match.
The doctors in the capital city of Tana suggest that Josy go to India for his transplant. There’s an Indian man who is a liaison between the hospital in India and the Nephrology department (if you can call it that) here in Madagascar. He’s flying to India sometime in July, he’ll wait to book his tickets so that he can travel with Josy.
Josy and Redy begin to work on their passports and visas as does Josy’s wife, Ana and their youngest son, Joise (4). All is smooth and all receive the necessary documents to travel overseas.
Details, details and more details are involved in this process.
The days pass and July is upon us, airplane tickets are purchased, visas and passports are in hand and Josy is as ready as he’ll ever be to make this journey. The journey will be long, 4-6 months that Josy and his wife and their youngest will be in India, 4-6 months that they will be separated from their daughters, Jocyia (9) and Princia (6). Redy will be separated from his wife and children and employment for 10-12 weeks.
A few days before departure, Josy travels to Mahajanga one last time. He spends time with his precious girls, with his brothers and sister and their families, with his dad who is fighting dementia and his mother who is fighting to live. Josy says good-bye to his mom, not expecting that she’ll still be alive when he returns.
The hour before his final good-byes we are with Josy and Ana and their children. Our combined six kids are romping around in their yard, laughing and playing and as always, grimy with the red dirt of Madagascar on them.
We sit in Josy’s modest two-room tin house. We talk and we listen. We weep together… Josy and Ana, Jamie and I. We weep. We each are scared. We each are sad. We each are grieving the good-bye, especially the hardest of all between Josy and Ana and their children. We each are hopeful at the same time. We pray together. I realize we are standing on Holy ground in the midst of a tin house in Madagascar– God is with us.
All 10 of us pile in our car, kids bouncing in the back seat, and we travel the short distance on the bumpy dirt roads, past rice fields and cows and barefoot children playing, to the small yard with multiple houses where most of Josy’s family live. The mood is quiet.
The extended family gather together one last time to pray. Josy’s sister-in-law and my closest Malagsy friend, Maman’i Aby prays. Her prayer is fervent and passionate as she praises God for His goodness, His mercy, His faithfulness, His provision, His sovereignty, His love.
I open my eyes during the prayer to see a family standing together, praising God together as they step into total uncertainty for the days and months that lie ahead. I see a family who 20 years ago, only two of them knew Christ… Maman’i Aby and Josy. I see a family who formerly ridiculed Josy for his faith in Christ and now they are united together in Christ and Josy was one of the most powerful tools that God used to bring each of them to this place. We are blessed beyond measure to be a part of this increbile family.
Everyone walks Josy out to the car. Josy’s daughters, Joycia and Princia begin to cry and our daughters Isabella (7) and Eliana (5) hold their friends’ hands in attempts to comfort them. Good-byes are spoken, handshakes are given (as is customary here) and tears fall.
Jamie takes Josy, Ana and their 3 children, Redy, Maman’i Aby, Dina and Sony to the bus station for their final good-byes. They stop for gelato on the way home because apparently the sweetness of gelato can help the sadness in their hearts. It seemed to help a bit for those staying behind.
Josy and crew spend one more full day in Tana for one last dialysis treatment and a few more details.
Less than 24 hours ago, Josy, Ana, Joice, Redy and their liaison, the Indian man, boarded their flight. Other than Josy and the Indian man, this was their first time on an airplane and for all but the Indian man, their first time to step off the red soil of Madagascar.
Their flights took them to Mauritius then Mombai then on to Lucknow, India. They should have arrived by now. Arrived in a foreign country and culture with a foreign language, customs, food, sights, sounds and smells. We pray it’s not too much of a shock to their systems!
The next three weeks will be important. Josy will continue to receive the necessary dialysis while both Josy and Redy undergo several medical tests to ensure donor match and viability for surgery. Please continue to uphold Josy and Redy in your prayers as well as Ana, Joice (4), Princia (6) and Joycia (9).
We look forward with anticipation and peace as God continues to unfold this story before us and we look forward to sharing it with you. To God be the glory, forever and ever.