Fifty baby chicks. All in the name of missions. That’s what I find on my screened in porch last week. So cute and fluffy. “Yes, dear, they can stay until they can be flown to Hobotongo.” I graciously permit. These chicks will provide eggs for the missionaries and villagers there. This is where we have a thriving school and a growing church, in a very remote location. I continue making supper as the chicks settle down in their makeshift box home, thinking, “I don’t have time to mess with chicks, this is Darron’s project. They can stay here, but I’m not taking care of them.”
Rapidly a few days pass by. Darron, Jacob and Nathaniel care for the chicks and I enjoy their little chirps and dislike their odor. Otherwise, I ignore the happenings in Chickville. Until Wednesday morning. I am busy at the clinic and Darron keeps sending distressing messages to my phone. “Chicks are getting sick. What is going wrong? What can be done different?”
Dr. Di, who loves animal husbandry and who orders all the little chicks…… tries to problem solve with me. Are they cold? Wet? And many more thoughts. Meanwhile Darron is at home in chick- save-mode. He has isolated the sick ones and spent the morning trying to get them well. Several die and he is discouraged.
I arrive home after school and step onto the porch. Sigh. I can’t stand by and watch chicks die. My fight mode kicks in and I step into the chick ICU. A light is on them. The blow dryer is off to the side. A syringe for force feeding water and food.
One thing I observe is that the banana leaves that we are using to line their cage is holding in all the moisture of their droppings and spilled water. They are wet and they are cold. So out go the leaves and in go old math work sheets. Chicks are worked with intensely. Some chicks perk and others are too weak and die. We loose nine. Some died right in my hand. So sad to watch even something so little, die.
Effectively within twenty four hours we were able to shut down the chick ICU and move the surviving revived chicks to the step down unit and the next day they were released back into Chickville.
Five days a week, Darron’s office staff chat with the missionaries in Hobotongo on the Radio. They are so excited that chicks are coming. This project has not been without its own struggles and death.
Tragically, one and a half years ago, the pastor lost his wife there, after she ate a local fruit and it had a deathly reaction to her. Many years before that, the current pastor, was beaten twice to the point of death, for sharing the gospel. Miraculously, his life was spared and now he is serving his people. Currently, a delightful young couple are serving there. They moved to Hobotongo two months after getting married. They have had to spend many months apart as they both had one class left to finish. Their only way to communicate is through the radio in Darron’s office, where inconveniently their conversation is heard by many. Remarkably we have another young couple who will be getting married in October and plan to join the Hobotongo project shortly after their wedding.
Forty one healthy dry chicks are enjoying life on my screened in porch. They have a special mission: to provide courage and hope and protein to missionaries living and serving in extreme conditions. I love the way Jesus calls all of us to serve. Even if it is simply taking care of a little chick so that it will bless someone later. I am also touched, that even in the big scheme of things a baby chick is such an insignificant thing, and yet every time one of them took its last breath, heaven was aware. How much more so is the Lord aware of you and me, my friend?