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April: Field Team Talk

April 1, 2014

Happy April, readers! Below is a beautifully written article about by one of our field team members.

“I’m currently working in the kids ward at the hospital. I love seeing the kids smile and laugh as they get better, I love the challenge of getting them to trust me, a white stranger. I love praying with their parents and having opportunities to get to know them. I love teaching the nurses and working as part a great team. I love the challenge of finally getting a diagnosis after a child has been ill for months and seeing the hope that comes in their families eyes as a child slowly starts to respond to the correct treatment.

I could tell you about *Ava, a six-year-old girl who I first met in December. She had been run over by a truck that was carrying sand and had broken both legs, lost half of each foot and had huge open wounds. Whilst we wondered if she would ever walk again, she was more concerned about the pain of having dressings changed twice a day and was scared, withdrawn and could scream louder than any other child I’ve met. Now, 4 months later, her wounds have almost healed, she scoots around the hospital on her bottom and has turned into a cheeky little girl once again, teasing the nurses and playing with her little sister. Her laughter, instead of her screaming, fills the ward. She has asked to go home for the weekend as she’s fed up with other children being discharged before her, and next week she’ll start learning to walk. When I look at her feet, I am amazed by the body’s capacity to heal itself and I marvel at Our Creator who designed such complexity.

Or we could talk about *Isaac, a very fragile, underweight, beautiful child with long eyelashes. He is two years old and came in with a cough. He’s been coughing for two weeks his mom said; he had a cold that went to his chest. After a week of treatment it was apparent that we were losing him, he slipped into a coma and stopped coughing because he was too weak. His mom already had four children die and didn’t want to stay in hospital to watch him die too. We gave her the bed for free and she agreed to stay. We thought it was HIV, he tested negative, the repeat x-ray could just about pass for TB. It took five days of TB treatment for him to come off oxygen, seven days for him to come out of the coma, and now it’s been three weeks – he’s sitting up and started playing this morning. He has skinny, stick-like arms and is uncoordinated in trying to clap his hands. He still has a long way to go as he can’t yet swallow or talk. As I look at him, I realize the fragility of life and how precious a gift it is. I praise God for answering our prayers and I pray that *Isaac will grow up to know his Heavenly Father.

But there are other days. Days when I don’t want to go to work because of the suffering I know I’ll see. Days when hope seems very far away. Days when I plead with God to heal, not for the right reasons but because I can’t cope with the pain of seeing another child die. Days when I cry out to him to let a child die as I have no way of taking away their suffering. Days when I look at my ward and see the children with cancer, HIV, renal disease who are doing better and I see the gratitude in their parents’ eyes and my heart is heavy as I know that most of them will not grow up.

In the midst of it all, God challenges me – “Do I not love these children more than you ever can?” Of course, Lord. “Do I not see every tear they shed?” Of course, Lord. “Do I not care about their suffering?” Of course, Lord. “Will I not give you the strength for each day, if only you’ll ask?” I am comforted by my Father’s love for me and I rest in him, thanking him for the privilege I have to love these children again tomorrow.”

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