Saturday, November 19, 2011

A New Brother....

A New Brother with an amazing story!
It is always fun to meet amazing people at CURE hospitals. Each one has a life story that reveals the providence of God in leading them to receive CURE care.  Recently, I chatted with this young man. He was born with a cleft palate and lip....which had made him an outcast in his community. His father was his champion until he died. Then his mother decided to arrange a marriage to comfort her son. Can you imagine the new wife's reaction on their wedding day? She didn't meet her husband until his wedding day apparently. Having a birth defect like a cleft is a huge thing in Africa. This dear man was so ashamed of his appearance. He was so ashamed of the shunning from his community. He would try to hide his face. He had few work opportunities and fewer still educational or apprenticeship opportunities. One night in desperation, he decided that he would run away. Without telling anyone, he ran away to the big city. It was difficult finding work. It was difficult to live from one handout to another. He wanted to earn his own living. He wanted to make his mother and wife proud of him.  By God's grace, he heard about CURE and the work that the hospitals do to bring healing. Somehow, he found the hospital, was seen in the clinic, hospitalized, operated upon and some time he is....ready to surprise his mother and wife. What a handsome man!

But wait.....all the healing is not in the surgery! No!  Pastors Hassane, Josh and others played a part in reassuring, encouraging and sharing the good news of Jesus Christ.  This young man was so interested. On the day that he was supposed to be discharged from the hospital, he had a small area on his wound that prevented him from hopping on a bus to his home village. He needed a day or two more at the patient hostel so that the nurses could ensure good approximation of the surgical site to minimize scarring.  During the days while he waited and received further wound care, he heard the good news, again. His heart was moved by the Holy Spirit.  I arrived on Thursday night and on Friday morning rounds, he asked me so many questions. I told him about our Anne being born with a cleft. I told him about her many surgeries. He was very interested and peppered me with questions. At last he asked, how old is she? What does she do? When I told him Anne was a medical student and that she would be a doctor in a couple of years, this man was so astounded! He was thrilled! I told him that we would pray with him and for him. We would ask God for opportunities to study, learn and work so that he could support his family.  His face shone after our prayer time.

 Later that day, Pastor Hassane was beaming and he recounted how the young man came to his office inquiring about how to receive our Savior Jesus! So now I have a new brother!

The humorous end to the story came to me on the following Monday. Pastor Hassane said that on Sunday morning around 4:30 am his phone rang. At first he ignored it thinking it was a wrong number. As the ringing persisted, he answered it....guess who was calling? Yes, it was the young man, a new believer who had returned to his village. He wanted to remind the pastor that he was coming to church! Then the pastor reassured the young man that he was being picked up and brought to church. Two hours later, the same call came. How delightful to hear of such eagerness to be with other believers and learn about the one true LORD.  Praise God!

What a delightful testimony! What joy it will be in heaven to be with some from every tribe, nation and people group who have called upon the Lord Jesus Christ for Salvation! This Thanksgiving, I have another special blessing to be thankful for....a new brother in Christ!