Hannah McDowell | EFM Board Member
For over 40 years now, Clinic Light and Life has had the privilege and opportunity to shine God’s light, dispelling dark and fearful superstitions native to Honduran culture. Hannah McDowell, RN and certified nurse-midwife, wrote of one such experience that she had on August 11, 2008, while serving at the clinic.
She was just fifteen, still a child herself, yet she had given birth to her own child only a few hours before. Her baby’s father had bowed out of the picture months ago, and she would be raising this little one without his ever knowing the meaning of the words “my daddy.” I met her at the start of my night shift and knew I had only a few hours to help her start learning the multitude of things she needed to know for her herculean task of bridging the gap between young, carefree teenager and mature, responsible mother.
Her baby was a fussy one, and she was impatient with his insistence on her attention when all she wanted was some sleep. About midnight, he refused to obey her repeated snapped orders to shush up, and I went in to see what I could do to help her quiet his crying. The solution was a simple one: Like any self-respecting fellow, he was not pleased to be lying in a soggy diaper. I figured a class in “Diaper Changing 101” was certainly in order, and I went to gather the needed study materials.
“Would you please give me his dirty diaper?” she requested. “I want it for a secret.” More than a little startled, I nevertheless managed to keep from sticking my finger with the pin I was poking through the cloth and tried to be casual in my questioning. I had a hard time hiding my surprise at her shy confession. “I want to throw his diaper on the roof. That way, when someone comes by who wants to give him the evil eye and hurt him, they won’t be able to.”
Years of superstitious training did not easily give way to my gentle assurance that Jesus could protect her little one from harm, and she tucked the plastic bag with its soiled diaper deep into her scuffed backpack, quite sure that her trust in its effectiveness was valid. My heart ached to think of the hopelessness of a life without knowledge of the One Who came to dispel such fears. I wondered, as I had done many times before, why God allowed me to be born into a Christian family and raised with the knowledge of how infinite and all-sufficient is the love of Christ. I thanked Him for the satisfaction of yet another chance to share that love with someone less fortunate than I.