She's one of the bravest people I've ever met. She'd been coming to church for a few months but I hadn't really gotten a chance to get to know her. Until tragedy found me sitting next to her in a hospital waiting area, praying for her and her then unborn baby. The doctors had told her that they baby was no longer alive and that they would have to induce labor at only 8 months to expel the dead remains. As we prayed, I laid my hand on her eerily still tummy and knew in my bones that there was no life there. I began to feel a sob welling up from somewhere deep inside and struggled to suppress it until we had said our goodbye's. I hugged this 19-year-old mother, tears trickling down both our faces, and told her I would continue to pray for her. Then I motioned for her mom to follow me outside.
We stepped out into the cool night air. It was well after 10 pm and everything was quiet. Solongo's mom looked at me, curious as to why I had called her out. I took a deep breath and said a quick prayer, Lord, guide me now. I had no idea how to say it but I felt that I should advise her to allow her daughter to see and maybe even hold the baby even if it were stillborn. This is unheard of in Mongolia so I was very careful in explaining why it might be helpful. The look on this woman's tired face told me that she understood what I was trying to convey. She promised she would do everything in her power should Solongo want to see the baby.
That night was a sleepless one for me. I awoke every hour or so, praying in my sleep for Solongo. At times I found myself begging God to return the life of that precious baby and at other times I prayed for Solongo and her husband for peace and the ability to let go and trust God. I wrestled with thoughts of my own miscarriage and the emotional tailspin that followed it. It was the most difficult time in my life. I wondered if, at 19 and newly married, Solongo could get through something like that. And her baby was a lot further along than mine was...
The next day we heard nothing. The day after that I called her and she told me that she had delivered after several hours of hard induced labor. Her baby, a beautiful girl, was indeed stillborn. I listened quietly as she told me over and over how beautiful her little girl was--she had big eyes and a head full of black hair. She thanked me for giving her the idea that she could see and love her baby. It gave her the courage to do something she instinctively wanted to do in spite of the doctors' disapproval.
Fast forward about 5 weeks. Last Saturday Solongo, her mom and I are talking in my kitchen. Solongo has been through the ringer but she's still hanging in there. Her husband was in Korea when the ordeal took place and has still not been able to return home. The tears begin to flow as she tells me how much she misses him and how she longs to be held in his arms and cry on his chest. They talk and cry on the phone several times a day.
Solongo went on to tell me that she cries when she sees children on TV. She's afraid to leave her apartment because she knows that she'll cry if she sees a baby, especially a girl. I told her that these are normal emotional symptoms and that they will pass in time. Before leaving she asked if she could see Kenny. He was already in bed for the night but I went ahead and woke him up and brought him to Solongo. She hugged him tightly and smelled his head. Then he looked up at her and gave her a huge smile that I couldn't have timed better myself. We all laughed. Then she and her mom were on their way.
Solongo is in Ulaan Baatar now, trying to get a visa to go and see her husband in Korea (he has a work contract that doesn't permit him to leave the country). I've put my worries for her in God's hands but I still think about her a lot. She's a brave girl and I've learned from her and from this whole experience. I'm glad God allowed me (and Kenny) to serve their family and show them His love.