The life of a young king

Nancy Dimmock
Founder of the Crisis Nursery, Lilongwe

hezikiahI remember the day Hezekiah came to us at the Crisis Nursery. He was tiny – about 2.5 kg (5.5lbs)– but with a strikingly beautiful face. He was nameless, so the first order of business after a bath and a feed was to come up with a good strong Biblical name for him to grow into. Hezekiah came to mind, after the godly King of Judah who took all of his problems to God and pled with Him for salvation, time and again, "that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou, O Lord, art God alone." Only God Himself knew how well that name would suit this special little boy.

The first part of Hezekiah's life was characterized by frequent visits to the doctor's office. He was very sick and fragile. The nurses at the clinic and the mothers at the Nursery had to fight for his life. And Hezekiah, like his kingly namesake, fought to live, too. Twice we feared he would not live and we traveled to his home village to prepare his family for the worst. But Hezekiah got better each time.

Stella met Hezekiah in May of 2005 at the clinic where he was hospitalized. She asked about his story and began to interact with him and thus began their amazing journey. As Stella and her family prayed that Hezekiah would find a home, God began to impress upon her that He wanted her to step out in faith and take him to be her son. Hezekiah represented that giant step of faith and trust for Stella. She came to me and we cried and prayed together about this "call" on her life. A struggle ensued and went on for three months, as she questioned whether such a step was practical or sensible. It certainly wasn't convenient! But, finally in September 2005, she surrendered and started the adoption process. Hezekiah went to live with Stella just before Christmas. He was welcomed home in style as Stella hosted a large family gathering.

Just after the first of the year, Stella told us that she had to go the U.S. for two months for meetings and wanted to take Hezekiah with her for some medical tests and treatment. We thought it was a great idea, but simply impossible given the timing and the amount of paperwork required. But she had many people pray and Stella herself, faithfully jumped through all the bureaucratic "hoops" and Hezekiah got his miracle – a Malawi passport, an American visa, and an airline ticket all the day before they were due to travel. We know now that he was a King on a Mission. God had work for him to do in the U.S.

He visited the World Relief Headquarters in Baltimore and through his charm slowed down work for a few days and got wonderful, medical attention at Gillette Children's Hospital.
At Wheaton College he was crowned a Wheatie Star. He attended the African Students' Fellowship where his very presence challenged members to do something for their continent.

And then, Hezekiah preached his last sermon on Sunday, Feb. 12th at Grace Church, Roseville, MN as an advocate for neglected children. Grace's Mission Festival Theme that day was "Too small to Ignore -- Why Children must be a Big Thing in Missions."

Pastor Oertig of Grace Church, writes what happened next:
" After the Missions Festival, Hezekiah came home on Sunday afternoon to our home, where he and his mom were staying. He ate a good dinner and played happily as we all visited together. After dinner we took pictures, had a time of prayer and Hezekiah's mum gave him a bath and put him to bed. We had tea, visited, planned for Monday morning and went to bed. Just a few minutes later, Stella alerted us that Hezekiah had stopped breathing. We called emergency rescue, my daughter Sarah and I started CPR, and then handed him to the paramedics who tried valiantly to resuscitate him as we all pleaded with God to do one more miracle. He was rushed to the hospital, but Hezekiah had quietly slipped into glory. There, carrying his heavenly passport, he received an imperishable crown and a perfect new body."

Hezekiah's brief life continues to be a living message for us. I am reminded of Angelina, Lydia, Lorraine, Abigail, Conwell, Thomas and other precious babies who came through our Crisis Nursery on their way to heaven. They lived very short lives, but left powerful legacies behind them. They and Hezekiah continue to point us to the needs of thousands of children like them scattered across our country and continent. They communicate, even though they are gone, that each one of us can make a HUGE difference in the life of a child – like Stella did in Hezekiah's life.

But they also make us aware that we need them as much as they need us. Stella would be the first to tell you how blessed she is to have been loved by her baby, Hezekiah, and what rich lessons she learned from him. King Hezekiah pleaded with God for his life when he was deathly ill, and was granted 15 years. We pleaded for our Hezekiah and were granted 15 months. This child was loved and loved in return. He touched us in deep and mysterious ways and caused us to understand again how very precious life is.