The Triplets’ Story Part I

The Triplets’ Story Part I

Date of original journal entry — Wednesday February 22, 2016

And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time . . .(Mark 10:29-30)

Stephen arrived home around 2 pm yesterday, blowing in after an extended excursion on the Dry Season Circuit visiting several partner churches.  And now he’s getting ready to pull out again tomorrow for five days with Emmanuel Star, a church in Kenema which is one of our favorites.  They are all about evangelism!

So this means I have a mountain of work to accomplish in one day to get him ready to leave early in the morning.  Four loads of laundry are already washed and on the line to dry.  Later they’ll get folded and repacked.  Probably a lot later.  Twelve evangelism books, though already printed, still need to be bound and packed.  To say nothing of the growing pile of dirty dishes from hastily eaten meals, and the floors that need to be swept.  Then, a distraction.  They always find the best times to arrive.  But this distraction proved to be very pleasant and quite welcomed.

Teressa is a newer member of our church.  Shortly after she began attending she delivered the over-sized load she had been carrying for nine months: Triplets!  A girl, Asahnatu, was followed by two brothers, Asahn and Aluson.  Alfred had come up to ask if I would walk down the hill to his house and greet the lovely family.  Would I?  You bet!  The work can wait!  It will get done; somehow it always does.

My first visit with Teressa (R), Aminata, and the triplets. I am holding Aluson, the youngest

As we visited and cooed over the babies, Teressa and Aminata, the triplets’ granny, in the Mende tribal language, through Alfred’s translating, told me of how difficult the nights are.  Poor Mama would be nursing two of the babies while Papa tried to console the squealing third who was waiting his or her turn.  And of course the one to suckle last didn’t get much.  We enjoyed our visit very much, and arranged to meet again when Stephen could also join us.  They bundled up the babies in their lappas (the cloth used to strap babies and young children to their mothers’ backs), Teressa having one on her back and one on her front, while Aminata took the third on her back.

While making my way back up the hill to our house, an idea played around in my mind.  I talked to Stephen about it during our supper on the veranda later that night.  Could we provide six months of infant formula to help Teressa so she and her husband could get some much needed sleep?  Stephen jumped on the idea and agreed to stop in Bo to purchase two cans of powdered formula on his return from Kenema.

The Saturday after Stephen arrived home, he and I went down the hill to meet Teressa and her sweet family, granny Aminata again accompanying them.  We brought the cans of infant formula and two bottles.  I’m not sure who had more fun playing with the babies, me or “Pa Steve,” as he is respectfully called.  

Explaining how to mix the formula. These ladies cannot read the directions on the formula can so I am showing them how much water to put with one scoop of powder.

Again through Alfred putting my English into Mende, I explained to the two ladies how to mix the formula using boiled and cooled water, and how to care for and keep the bottles clean.  They had good questions, and I was so happy to be of some small help to the dear family.  They were very grateful for our commitment to provide six months of formula, something they could never afford.

I was very careful to make sure Teressa understood that the formula was only to assist her at night.  I didn’t want her to misunderstand that this was to replace the healthier benefits the babies would receive from her nursing them.

As a sweet side note I should explain the bottles.  In Sierra Leone, it isn’t possible, even in the capitol city, to purchase baby bottles.  At this time we had several babies we were assisting with formula who were being cared for by family members or friends after their mothers had died in childbirth.  We would have to get the bottles mailed to us from the States.  These particular bottles which we gave to the triplets were sent by our oldest granddaughter, then 12 years old, which she had purchased and mailed with some of her birthday money.  I was so excited as I planned a letter telling her how two of her 12 bottles had been used!  I would also print out some of our photos to send along in the letter.  The perks of having grandparents on the mission field.

While we more than miss our own grandchildren, the Lord greatly makes up for that empty spot by giving us so many little ones to love and help care for here.  We love our “Giecos babies,” as we call them; that being the brand of the infant formula we provide.  We visit them regularly and often provide medical care for them as well.  What a privilege to add Asahnatu, Asahn, and Aluson to our growing family of Giecos babies, some of our “hundredfold.”


Post Script:  Watch your inbox for my upcoming Part II of The Triplets’ Story.  But a word of caution, a spoiler alert of sorts.  Two of the babies pass away and to tell their story, there is some unsettling information which needs to be included.  I know there are families who read my blog posts with their children and I want you to be aware up front that Part II contains some difficult concepts.  But it’s part of their story, and it’s part of my story being on the foreign field.  Maybe just read it first by yourself, then use it as a teaching opportunity to discuss that things aren’t always the same as what we know in America.

Stephen enjoying some grandpa time with Asahnatu!

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  1. Laura Malm on July 6, 2024 at 1:37 pm

    Praise the Lord! There are so many ways to serve Jesus through being a help and a blessing to others! I hope this family is çontinuing in the church and growing in faith.

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