05 Nov A Ministry of Grieving
Through your faithful partnership with Special Hope, we labor daily to see transformation in the lives of the children, families, and communities we serve. At times, the progress our children and families make is exhilarating. On other occasions, we are reminded of the overwhelming obstacles children with intellectual disabilities face. Our ministry is marked by both joy and sorrow, and in this blog post, we invite you to share our grief over the death of one of our children, Ephraim.
Ephraim was born on April 2nd, 2009, to a single parent in a poor compound in Lusaka. At birth, it was clear that Ephraim had microcephaly. Later, he was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, and he also suffered from epilepsy and aspiration. He began at our Community Care Center (CCC) in Garden compound in January 2013 at the age of 3 ½. When we met Ephraim, he weighed 13 lbs and was not able to hold his head up or use his arms or legs. Furthermore, he had a perpetual grimace, never smiled, and cried all the time.
Through attending our Centers with his Grandma, Ephraim began to smile and gain flexibility in his hands and legs. When we sang at circle times, he responded by smiling and moving his arms, revealing his joy in the music and attention he received. He was even able to sit unassisted for 5 minutes. Special Hope provided Ephraim with constant medical oversight and maintenance medicines, which included Baclofen for extremity stiffness, omeprazole for reflux, daily medicines for seizures, and “thick-it” to make eating and drinking safer. His family benefitted from our monthly food packages, and he benefitted from High Energy Protein Supplement (HEPS), which, with his family’s care and love, enabled him grow to 35 lbs, a gain of 22 lbs in 3 ½ years.
EPHRAIM AND HIS GRANDMOTHER
Special Hope stepped in beside Ephraim’s Grandma to prepare for his funeral and burial, including providing food and transportation for all Special Hope staff and the mothers of other CCC children to attend the funeral, preaching at the graveside, and helping to purchase a casket.
In life, and unfortunately sometimes in death, Special Hope is invited to walk with our children and families in the many hardships that they face. Today, we mourn the loss of Ephraim. Yet we also declare that in his life and even in his death, Ephraim was, and is, valued and valuable.
Your partnership with us enables us to show that Ephraim and other children with intellectual disabilities are both loved and valued members of their families and communities. Thank you for your faithful support of this important work.
ERIC NELSON, PRESIDENT
BEN MENENBERG, BOARD CHAIR