A Grace-Filled Birthday

By Peggy Drake, serving in Burkina Faso

Editor’s note: Peggy Drake helped to initiate Project Life, a clinic and pharmacy providing affordable treatment to the ill and dying in Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso. She describes a moving birthday encounter with a forlorn runaway and her newborn baby.

It was the morning of my 57th birthday. I was in the clinic with a patient when all of a sudden I heard our pharmacy worker, Jeannine, calling me to come quickly.

A young girl (we’ll call her Jasmine) was lying on the street outside, weeping uncontrollably. A tiny baby was strapped to her back.

When I bent down and began speaking to Jasmine in her tribal language, she looked up at me with surprise, and her tears slowly began to subside. After we walked to one of the clinic exam rooms, she began telling me her tragic story:

Jasmine had become involved with a classmate who abandoned her when she became pregnant with his child. Once her baby girl was born, her parents threw her out of the house.

“A Place Where People Care”

For some 40 days and nights since, Jasmine had been on the run, staying in different homes as she worked her way to the city. She’d heard that there was a place in our part of town where people cared and might help her. If she could just find that place!

The night before we met, Jasmine had slept on the dusty street, trying to keep herself and her baby girl warm. She had wanted to place the baby under a bush by the side of the road that night and walk away, but for some reason she didn’t.

Jasmine explained that she loved the baby but did not want it anymore; she wanted to go back to school and to her parent’s home. I was filled with compassion as I looked at this mother and her baby, and I asked if I could tell her a story. She agreed.

Choosing Life

I began to share with her what had happened 57 years ago-that very morning. A woman gave birth to a baby with no left hand. Because she did not want to keep the baby, it was taken straight to an orphanage.

I then told her that baby was me! She looked at me and said, “No, that cannot be!” I said, “Yes, it is true.”

I explained to her that like the woman who gave me life, she had made some right choices. She had not tried to abort the baby; she had not left it to die.

We talked about God and what He might accomplish through her baby. Jasmine smiled for the first time when I said, “Maybe she will be the first woman prime minister in Burkina!”

God’s Grace

By the end of the morning, we all decided that Jasmine would be taken back to her village. The wife of her village’s elected mayor even volunteered that she would care for her and the baby.

I told her that we would see each other soon and that the team at the clinic would pray for her. I told her that we would talk more about the Lord Jesus and His grace in our lives. She liked that idea very much.

As she left I said, “Your baby does not yet have a name but I shall call her Grace.” She smiled as she turned to leave. As I walked back into the clinic, I began humming that classic hymn, “Grace, grace, God’s grace.”

What You Can Do

In your prayers, thank the Lord for Peggy Drake’s encounter with Jasmine and baby Grace. Pray for this young woman’s salvation and for the Lord to protect and sustain her and her new baby.


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