Tuesday, February 1, 2011

My bare feet pounded down against the cold, cement floor. My heart was pounding in my chest. It was 2:30 am, and I was running through every hallway in Jinja main hospital. I ran with determination, urgency; I ran with fear. My eyes scanned quickly into every room, every corner as I passed by…and more than once my fist met the peeling paint of a closed door.

I ran breathlessly, pleading for help, but there was never any reply. Only silence met my cries. I know my voice was heard by all who lay occupying beds, but somehow it did not reach the ears of those in uniform.

I was in search of a nurse, a doctor, or anyone really. But more importantly, I was searching desperately for oxygen… for waiting in my car was a little boy who’s life depended on it.

Every time I entered another hospital I was met with the same scene; I would quickly come to the conclusion that there was no oxygen available, and with haste, I would make my way back outside. And each time I jumped back in my car, I grew a little less hopeful; a little more fearful. And as I sped along the bumpy roads that led to our next destination, I found myself looking into the rearview mirror...far to often. When I would glance back, what I saw was horrifying, it was heart wrenching, unfair even, BUT, it was also a picture of Christ. A picture of servant hood.

In the back seat an IV bag hung, swinging and moving with every bump and turn. Attached to the end of that long clear tube was a little 11 month old baby boy named, Harrington. His very pregnant mother held him close. Uncontrollable tears spilled out of her puffy eyes and ran down her cheeks. A flow of salty tears fell to Harrington sweet face as he gasped for air; the rise and fall of his chest was frighteningly inconsistent. Next to this little family sat my sweet sister, Jenifer. She sat close using an oxygen bag, attempting to keep him alive. She was slowly squeezing the big yellow balloon like shape, pushing oxygen into his lungs; praying that God would give him his next breath. We were both praying, begging God to perform a miracle. Yet every time we reached another facility, the result was the same. No oxygen, not a single hospital in Jinja had available oxygen. Not one.

So we started off to Kampala…hoping and praying…

Then…God answered our prayers! One of the baby homes that we’d been to earlier got their oxygen machine working!!! Even after we left in such a hurry one of their girls, Helen stayed up franticly trying to fix what was broken. She got it working and called! I made a U turn and we were on our way…minutes later we pulled into a quiet, sleeping compound, bringing with us only chaos. We moved as quickly as possible. Holding a limp baby, an IV bag, and trying to continue getting oxygen into Harrington’s lungs was quite a task. Even with 3 sets of hands....

As I walked in the door, I felt a change take place within the small body I was clutching so near to my heart. Not a good change. I started running to the back of the house where Jennifer was preparing the oxygen machine. But by the time I made it into the clinic he had no pulse. I placed him on the floor and we started CPR. We pounded on his chest, gave him our own breath and prayed. Prayed. And prayed. And prayed…

But God did not choose to bring him back to us. He chose to take him to a better place. A place with no pain. No suffering. No hunger.

Sometimes when I’m in valley of the shadow of death, I DO fear. When I got the call that Harrington’s oxygen ran out, I was scared. As I drove to the hospital as fast as possible to pick him up, I was scared. Every time I bolted out of my car, I was terrified. And getting back in was even worse. As I knelt over Harrington and pounded on his chest, begging God to bring him back, I felt as though my own heart was stopping. Many times in the past month, I have asked god “why? Why me? Why here?” and every time without fail, I hear “Because I chose you.” So with a heavy heart I continue….I continue the work that God has called me to because just that, HE has called me! Even when my heart is breaking...

We miss you Baby Harrington. We love you.

NOTE: SHC would like to buy our own oxygen tanks, so that next time maybe this situation can be avoided. If you would like to make a donation to help cover some of the costs it would be greatly appreciated. Please indicate that the donation is to go toward oxygen. Thank you so much for all of your continued prayers and support!


  1. Your ability to love like Jesus is so so neat, Renee. It is so cool to see how He uses you even in the most painful situtions, to glorify Him.

  2. My heart just broke, thank you so much for helping the "least of these". You are an angel. You are in my prayers

  3. I'm sorry, Rnee. I'm sorry that after all you do and all you pray that sometimes God's plan is different than our heart's desires. Harrington will be waiting for you and I'm sure with a huge hug when that reunion takes place.
    Stay strong. I am praying for your strength, peace and heart.

    Hugs & Prayers

    I'm so so sorry.

  4. My heart is just so broken - for you, for his mother, for the helplessness that you must have felt.
    I wish I could write a check and an oxygen machine would be yours! But I can't. But I can raise awareness and funds for you. Just wondering - how much does a machine cost?

  5. praying for you, Renee. do you know about how much a machine would cost?

  6. This post broke my heart this morning. Spent some time praying while crying the ugly cry. I KNOW God is good, but wow, life is hard. Thank you, Renee and Jenifer for being obedient and faithful when things are so hard.

    I don't mean to speak for Renee of SHC, because I don't know exactly what they need (and please forgive me if I'm overstepping here), but I was doing some research on cost so our family would know how to give.

    Here are some prices from a US medical supply company of what it sounds like they need.

    Oxygen tanks $125-$160 each

    resuscitation set $510-$550 http://www.1cascade.com/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=3294

    Again, I don't know if this exactly what they need, but I just thought I'd throw out what I found. Whatever they need will take a good bit of money. I'm going to spread the word out the best I can.

  7. Thanking God for you. For your obedience to His calling. Praying for when what He has called you to is just enough to break your heart.

  8. So sorry to hear this. I feel for you and the mother. I do know that Elohim is using this situation for awareness and that the sweet little guy is waiting for his mother and you to greet when entering the gates of heaven. Will be praying.
    Hugs from Ohio

  9. Sending a check for $50 - hope it helps! Thank you for what you do. Sincerely, Dini family from San Jose, CA.

  10. my heart breaks for you and for harrington's mother. you are one strong, humble woman, renee. we pray for you everyday that He gives you the strength to carry on. i am a nurse who works labor and delivery... we take for granted all the blessings and supplies we have. if there is more we can do please ask!

  11. So sorry for this loss.

    Thank you for sharing this story ... thank you for helping us to get a glimpse into your daily life.

    Praying for you.


  12. Praying for you. I know how desperate it feels to be in Africa w/out proper medical facilities. Its in these moments that we truly see God's glory. Hang onto the miracles you have seen. And praise God that there is something better than this world. The Lamb at the center of the throne will be their Shepherd. He will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe every tear from their eyes. Rev 7:17

  13. I just read this blog about baby Harrington and tears just welled up in my eyes and heart and the lump came in the back of my throat. I could almost feel your heart through these words. You have cared for baby Harrington as unto the Lord. One day when you see him in heaven, you will understand the "why" in it all. Jesus said, "In whatever you have done unto the least of these, my brethren, you have done it unto ME." When you were taking him to get him oxygen, you were really caring for Jesus, sister. Praise the Lord. It is the Lord Jesus Christ who you are serving when you care for these little ones. Praise His Name. You have encouraged my heart today, sister. Thank you for loving Him like you do. God bless! ~Tabitha

  14. Oh... to know that Sweet baby is in the arms of Jesus is the only thing that's stopping the flow of my tears, and yet, I want to cry all the harder! How is that possible.

    Thank you for being such a willing vessel and for sharing your journey with us.