Monday, October 20, 2008

learning the zambian justice system

my heart is full today. my email inbox was flooded with words of love and encouragement from you. it's hard to put words to it. you have blessed me. i especially needed to read those today after the tough weekend i've been through.

on saturday morning i was woken out of a dead sleep at 7am to my ringing cell phone. because of my stomach pains i slept pretty miserably and finally in the wee hours of the morning drifted off into dreamland. the phone call was from my friend peter who told me that i had to get down to the mango tree right away because they had a criminal case. he didn't want to tell me any more but i pressed him for the information because if i was getting out of bed on the one day i get to sleep in, while being sick, i wanted to know it was for a good reason.

it was a good reason. he went on to tell me that a guy in the village broke into the mango tree and stole some food and drinks from the restaurant. he broke a window and managed to squeeze through the bars to get in. they figured out who it was, went to his house, and discovered some of the missing items. he was nowhere to be found. so then i was told that we had to go into town to pick up the police officer and bring him back to the village. yeah that is so africa. haha. on our way out of the village i started feeling really really bad and i ask them to take me back to my house where i got really sick. i told them to go without me so starr went with them.

it turns out they found the guy. his name is clement and he's in his early twenties. he's been hanging around the mango tree more since starr and i have been here. he's a nice guy but he's got major issues. the night he broke in he was drunk and high off marijuana. they all say he's a little crazy in the head, but i don't know. all he talks about is america and how much he wants to go. now i'm told he'll probably spend the next 5 years in prison.

i came to town today with a couple of the mango tree employees because they had to make statements to the police. i asked the officer how long he will probably have to serve in prison and when he told me 5 years i almost had a heart attack. "5 years?!!?" i yelled. "are you serious?" he told me that they take theft very serious around here. i asked if there was any way we could get his sentenced reduced and the officer said probably not but i could try appearing before the judge during his sentencing. it just breaks my heart that he could spend 5 years in prison. i've seen the prison here and it's awful. i wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy.

not to mention clement has a baby and his girlfriend has another one on the way. i want to be able to show him some kind of mercy and extend some kind of grace. it's really hard to know when to step in and when to just let the chips fall where they may. since i've been here i've been reading through the gospels again and all i can hear are the words of jesus regarding forgiveness and pardons.

please pray for us as we deal with this situation. pray for wisdom for us and for the judge. pray for clement that God would minister to His heart and use this situation to draw Him closer to the Lord. pray for his mother as well. we saw her at the police station today and i know this is really hard on her as well. we're going to try to visit him today before we leave town.

as for my health i am still not fully recovered. the past several days have been really hard. i've hardly eaten anything and the stomach pain is intense at times. today is much better than the last though so hopefully this thing is working its way out of my system.

i love you all so much. thanks for your prayers and all your love.


Grammy Jean said...

My heart breaks for your friend Clement. You have such a heart of mercy. I will be praying for you and for him; know that God will use this to His glory! You are such a blessing to all.

Anonymous said...

Oh Sue~ I feel your heart, for it is the heart of God! We pray for mercy and grace upon all involved in this situation! May the Lord grant you great wisdom coupled with His compassion to be His hand extended! We're believing for a miracle report and Clement brought into the Kingdom of God! The service and afterglow at church yesterday was breathtaking...whew...! God is doing great things upon the earth and shakin' things up indeed! With so much love to you....xoxoxo