Bird on a Bare Branch

Attempting to fling a frail song in my little corner of the world

The Cause of Death December 28, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jen @ 2:49 pm

I realized that my post yesterday made it seem as if Mesa had died from his tooth infection.  Actually I first thought he had had an aneurism as the first piece of information we received about his death was that he had suffered a terrible headache and died in the taxi on the way to the airport.  The cause of death is, in fact, much more complicated so that it was difficult for me to write about it yesterday without a cultural discussion.  I also wanted to be fair to who Mesa was and not focus on his tragic behavior. 

 
Results of the autopsy showed that Mesa died of alcohol poisoning.  On Christmas night he and a good friend of his went out drinking and consumed too much too quickly.

 
In Mozambique Christians do not drink.  While this seems legalistic to those of us from America and Europe, what must be understood is that the context is one in which there is no concept of moderation.  When Mozambicans drink, they drink to get drunk.  People here do not go out for a leisurely drink with friends or have a glass of wine with a meal. 

 
Therefore the cause of death is more serious here than it might be in a Western context.  It not only means a shameful death but also means Mesa’s life cannot be held up as a testimony. 

 
Ultimately we do know that God is sovereign over all of this, and we believe that Mesa is with Him now.  At the funeral today the director of Oasis spoke of Mesa’s life, not ignoring how he died, but choosing to focus at how he served in life. 

 
Unfortunately, it will be a difficult healing process for his wife and family.  His family are not Christians, and his father was drunk himself when we visited two days ago.  (They are also likely spending the rest of today drinking.)  It will also be a difficult healing process for those who served alongside him in Oasis and the church.  It will not be an easy start to the New Year when the office reopens on Wednesday.       

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3 Responses to “The Cause of Death”

  1. Ellen Says:

    Jen,

    I am confused, probably just as you might be. I am sorry to hear of Mesa’s death and the dark cloud that most likely follows it. Is his life still considered a testimony at all? Is it possible, that, like many Christians, he struggled with sin? I know not the context of his life and his impact, but I care…for he is a person…and all people leave a legacy.

  2. jhubers Says:

    Good question, Ellen. Actually, it seems, at least in Oasis, that people are remembering his life and the legacy he left. He definitely had a great impact in this community, which was obvious just by the huge number of people attending his funeral in the rain. I’m sure his death doesn’t entirely negate the testimony of his life, but it definitely confuses/complicates it. Sin seems to be much more black and white here. We, as Americans, don’t understand the issue of alcohol. I’m not sure what a comparable situation would be in the States. Maybe it would be like if we found out that a totally godly beloved pastor died at his mistress’ house or at his homosexual lover’s house or from a drug overdose. It would definitely confuse how we thought of that pastor. No, it wouldn’t mean that he hadn’t had a godly impact on people’s lives, but it would stain his testimony. I don’t know if that helps at all. A friend of mine said that it is so sad that some sins have to be so much more obvious than others: that a person will be condemned for drinking too much, but she can be prideful on a daily basis. I agree, we all struggle with sin, and I may struggle more with different kinds of sin than he did, but sadly his are out in the open and societally more condemned than mine.

  3. Ellen Says:

    Thanks for explaining the cultural relevance of sin. It makes me wonder…who has it right? Are they both correct interpretations of how sin should be viewed? I understand now why it is so shameful a death for him. Thanks for taking the time to keep us informed. That is a very sad, but (I guess) realistic picture of a few of the heavy things you are dealing with while you are there.


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