Newstar Sebastian, the girl whose face graced the pages of two issues of The Lutheran (July and August 2002), appears one final time this month — yet sadly. She died Sept. 30 in Bukoba, Tanzania.
Sister Judith Bukambu, who helped care for Newstar on behalf of the Northwestern Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania, "held her like a baby" before she died.
Newstar, 12, couldn't control the AIDS that had taken over her frail body, but she was still calling the shots before she died. She asked to see all who had helped her to thank them and pray together. "We all went together and there was a cry of jubilee from Newstar," Bukambu says. "Everybody was amazed to see her smile."
Until her final days, Newstar still had plans to improve in math and English and become a nurse so she, too, could help others.
Newstar's parents also died from AIDS in 1995 and 1996. She is survived by her brother and grandmother.
Gaylord Thomas, ELCA Division for Global Mission, gave Newstar a beaded medallion last January. When he saw Bukambu in July, he asked her to give Newstar a necklace that had belonged to his mother. Newstar's last wish was for her grandmother to carry her on her back as she'd done so many times. "Her grandma complied and that is where she breathed her last breath, wearing the necklaces she got from Gaylord even to the grave," Bukambu says.
The World Hunger Appeal helps fund the program that assisted Newstar. Send memorials for Newstar — and to commemorate World AIDS Day Dec. 1 — to the appeal at P.O. Box 71764, Chicago, IL 60694-1764; www.elca.org/giving. In the notation, write "Stand With Africa/Newstar."
© 2013 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers