Thursday, 7 July 2011

A Disturbing Story

It was while we were discussing the topic of barrenness (the inability to bear children), in the women’s class of the Bible Institute, that one student told me this interesting but disturbing story which is too often the norm in Kenya.

In Kenya, and in many countries like Kenya, barrenness is often looked upon as a woman’s curse from God for some sin or displeasure she has wrought. The childless wife often bears the shame and blame alone, without even a thought that it might possibly be the husband who is the infertile one. The childless wife is harshly rebuked by her husband, and her mother-in-law, as well as her own family members, with this continuous rebuke being without mercy or compassion, often pushing a wife into desperate measures, which this story will, in part, reveal.

This story is of a wife who has been married for about 15 years without becoming pregnant, but her story of barrenness actually begins when she was a youth in her Form Four studies (17 yrs. old, in 12th grade). She got pregnant... and her mother was insistent upon her getting an abortion because a baby at that time in her life would have interfered with her studies and her future entrance into university. This pregnancy was such a disturbance to the young girl’s mother that the mother herself performed a home abortion on her own child, ending the life of her own grandchild. We can only imagine that some neglected medical problem occurred which resulted in permanent damage to the young girl’s reproductive system.

The young girl, now grown and married and unable to conceive, once again submits to her mother’s council as the mother tells her to "go and be with this other man and see if you can get a baby through him". It is unknown as to how many times this women submitted to this instruction given by her mother, and, as far as is know, this was something done behind the back of her husband. When this repeated attempt "to get a baby" failed, the barren wife eventually turned to th female pastor of her church for council. This female pastor instructed the wife to have strong faith and believe she was going to get pregnant, she told her to start wearing maternity clothing, as an act of her faith, while telling others that she was pregnant. When this repeated charade failed to produce a baby, the wife would then say she had suffered another miscarriage.

As the desperation of this wife continued, she again sought the council of her female pastor who now suggested she take a trip, to a particular country in Africa, where there is a particular mountain and get her miracle of conception from that mountain. It was at this point that the student in our Bible Institute was able to stop the desperate wife from making the trip.

This story is just one of many, the other students all had similar stories to tell concerning barrenness or abortions. Another such story involved a male pastor who’s young daughter was found to be pregnant. The father/pastor was not about to lose his church because of his daughter’s illegitimate pregnancy, so he took her for an abortion.

It is also common knowledge that barren women will go to the witch doctor for treatment, sometimes the women are taken by their own husbands and left for a few days to endure the treatment given by the witch doctor. Also, though it is against the laws of the country, bigamy is still practiced in Kenya, and it is not uncommon for a husband to take a second wife when his first wife is unable to produce offspring.

Barrenness is not God’s rebuke, or chastisement, on sin. God said, "Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth..." (Genesis 1:28; 9:1; 35:11) for God then to use barrenness as a form of rebuke or chastisement on sin would be to put God in direct conflict with Himself. When sin is a contributing factor to barrenness, it is not God’s judgement on us, but the consequence of our sinful behavior. For example; leading a sexually active life often results in sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s) which in turn could infect the reproductive system to the extent of causing sterility in either a man or a woman.

Barrenness is due more to either a genetic problem, a medical or physical problem, or the result of trauma to the body, and proper medical diagnosis through a fertility clinic is needed to discover the root cause of barrenness. Infertility is not just a woman’s problem, it is scientifically reported that men are equal with women when it comes to infertility problems. For example; mumps, or a high fever could be enough to render a man sterile.

This is a sample portion of the lessons the students are receiving through the Women’s Certificate Course in the Bible Institute. The ladies are gaining scripturally based knowledge which is able to be of help to such desperate women in need of godly council.

Thank you for reading my post.
Jane Coley

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