By Anna Beth Wildman
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139:13-16).
Baby Elizabeth is carried into the examination room at Spring of Life, an SIM ministry for people living with HIV/AIDS. The ten-month-old waves her spindly arms as SIM nurse Susan Bertrand lifts her from her mother’s lap. Elizabeth opens her mouth and gives a pitiful, scratchy cry. “Oh, she’s totally positive,” Susan’s voice cracks. As Elizabeth cries, Susan continues, “She’s got a bad case of thrush.” She turns to me. “Elizabeth’s mom, Sarah, has never been here before. She was in the market and a friend of mine approached her and said, ‘Your baby needs help; I’ll take you to Spring of Life.’”
I glance at Elizabeth’s mother, Sarah, who is very thin. She sits expressionlessly, too tired to care.