Responses to Jonalyn's Passing

What follows are some of the responses we received to our writings about Baby Jonalyn. We thank everyone for their interest and support of what we are doing here.

Hi Charity,
I cried when I received this letter and honestly…this affected tremendously my quest in pleasing the Lord.  For now, i am just daily asking the Lord of what He wants me to do, and as much as possible to just gaze upon His beauty and the beauty of His Creations – that includes Jonalyn, which unfortunately I could no longer see.   But then…Jonalyn is just one of them…there are more babies to come with the same situation or probably even worst…
Press on..what we do to the least of our brothers we do it unto HIM 
M.

Dear Evan, Charity, Jazz and all the other wonderful carers,
I am saddened to read the story of Jonalyn. I am glad she was able to share her short but important life surrounded by your care and love. If it wasnot for this our T. could be in the same position. Charity once told me it was T’s heart that gave him the chance of a better life. Who knows why these things happen, but a least we all around the world were able to know about Jonalyn and her family.
Thinking of you all
J., M. and T.

I love you guys so much — can’t imagine how much you are hurting after loosing baby Jonalyn. I am so sorry.  It is a big family at GH, and I am sure everyone feels the loss.
JMP

Hey Evan,
I’ve never heald a dying baby so I can’t quite empathize, but I have no doubt it would rip my heart to shreds. I can relate to the desire to have mom close at hand when we’re in tragedy though. It also helps to be held by a strong dad when things are frightening, as I’m sure things were for that child. As dad wasn’t there, you were the best replacement, and I have no doubt that brought some bit of comfort. I pray God gives you the comfort and grace you guys need as you continue to help others who need your tender love and compassion.
Bless ya cousin,
S.

Baby Jonalyn

In humanitarian mission work, none of us are untouched. This story is written by my husband, who I am so thankful is by my side.

Jonalyn
Two days ago, I was (for the second time in my life) handed a baby in severe respiratory distress.
Little Jonalyn had been born premature and underweight. At eight months old she was still the size of an infant. She had been referred by a social worker from Tondo, Manila where there is a huge garbage dump (not the first baby we’ve gotten from the dump). Her parents were young, unemployed and very poor.
She improved steadily and was scheduled to be returned completely rehabilitated for the 3rd time to her parents this week.
She wasn’t returned on schedule because she was sick. Not really sick, but not well enough to be discharged…Jonalyn2

I don’t pay very close attention to what goes on in the nursery, but I knew she was being closely monitored to make sure she was getting enough fluids and that was some concern that she wasn’t feeding properly… that is commonplace here. (We only have two ‘normal’ babies right now. All the rest have various issues and medical problems.)
Late that night (sometime after ten) the nighttime nursery worker came running upstairs in a panic carrying Jonalyn and saying she was having a hard time breathing.
The baby was handed to me…
"Why you?", you might ask… I guess because i am the ‘Dad’, the one who is not allowed to panic and must ‘handle’ whatever happens. I remember being a child and always knowing that my mom (I didn’t spend as much time with my dad) would handle whatever crisis we were in. From running out of fuel on a deserted stretch of highway to first aid on my friend who sliced open his wrist when a glass jar broke. I don’t ever remember my mom in a panic. I know now she must have been scared or unsure what to do at some point, but I never suspected it. Maybe you can inherit that…
So now I was holding a baby in obvious trouble. Her breathing was in short, shallow breaths and her eyelids were partially open with her eyes rolling back.
Where is your mom when you need her? I’ve heard of grown men in combat crying out for their mothers… I understand why.
We rushed to the nearest hospital (a five minute drive). I was sure she would stop breathing before we got there and I was not looking forward to a second attempt at infant CPR. When I took first aid in the army they left out the infant CPR portion, said we wouldn’t need it…
We arrived at the hospital with her in the same condition. The young ER doctor immediately started nebulizing her (like asthma treatment) and administering oxygen. Despite their best efforts, neither he nor the nurse could get an IV line in. Her already tiny veins where shrunken by dehydration.
The doctor wanted to get her transported to another hospital, but our pediatrician who we called immediately said not to move here unless she was stable which she definitely was not. He was at the hospital from the other side of the city within 15 minutes…
Transportation was not an option and her condition deteriorated. The ER doctor was left with no choice but to keep trying. She was intubated (a breathing tube inserted) and one of the nurses started ‘bagging’ her.
Next, she arrested (her heart stopped beating). Now the doctor and nurse were taking turns at chest compressions to try to make her heart beat. After a few minutes the doctor came to me and said, "Her heart is not responding… I’m very sorry…".
So, that was it… she was dead… just like that. She seemed fine in the afternoon and by 11 o’clock that night she was dead.
They removed the tubes and the nurse washed her little face and tried to close her eyes.
Doctor Dennis (our consulting pediatrician) arrived minutes after the end. "I came as fast as I could…" I wish my mom had come instead.
I left our social worker to make the arrangements for the body and to figure out how to notify the parents and I took Jazz (our short-term missionary who has been helping care for Jonalyn) back home.
We found out the next day from the parents that she had a congenital heart defect of which we were not informed when she was referred. The parents were not surprised. With no emotion, they said they were expecting it at some point. This helps explain why she went so fast…
I know this little one is safe in the arms of Jesus, but I still don’t understand the process… or maybe the purpose.
I know this is an imperfect, fallen and sinful world. I also know that God is in charge and in control. I struggle to reconcile these truths.
Why does an infant need to be born into poverty and sickness, then suffer and die in order to fly away?
I’ve heard many explanations and justifications (Philip Yancy has perhaps the most insightful ideas on the subject of suffering and death) and even God provides an answer when Job asks why he suffers. "Who are you to play armchair quarterback to Me?", says God (Evan’s paraphrase).
Well this armchair quarterback would have made a different call on this play, but I can’t even keep track of my keys, let alone manage creation.

Evan.

Jonalynmandy
Jonalynjazz

More Than a Carpenter

Martin_2
Kuya Martin’s Shop

It literally took us 3 ½ months of looking at places before we finally found a home and shop for Martin and his family. Several supporters sent enough money that we were able to buy all the machines and tools he needed. It was hard to sit and stare at the machines, silent, while we could find no where for him to begin work.

Now 6 months after the fire that literally destroyed everything he had, and left him with dark thick scars on his back and arms, he is making tables and desks that are works of art. Passer-bys stop and admire his work. His business permit is finally through and his dream of having a furniture shop is finally coming to pass.

God has been so gracious and has worked such an awesome miracle in Martin. He never misses a chance to share how God can touch and change a life. He is a carpenter with a heart tender and soft towards his Master, Jesus.

“What beautiful work you do”, I compliment him.

“To God Be All the Glory”, is his answer, his face just beaming.