Friday, March 15, 2013
Our final greetings from Mbale on the "Ides of March"—
We're finding it quite unbelievable that our time in Africa is so quickly coming to a close. This is the last night we'll sleep in Mbale on this trip. Early in the morning we'll make our way to Kampala and Entebbe, and then we'll fly out tomorrow night for the USA. The time has flown and we'll be processing these 12 days for a long time to come.
All day today was spent at the CURE Children's Hospital, much to our delight. We love that place . . . even if it weren't run by our son-in-law. It is a sanctuary of peace, beauty, healing, and hope in the midst of much despair and disorganization so characteristic of developing countries. Inside the compound, on the beautiful, clean gardenesque grounds, it is inconceivable that poverty, filth, and chaos exist just outside the gates. This hospital is a place of grace.
We started the day by speaking at the all-staff chapel. It was a thrill to return to this group, with whom we spent so much time last September. They were so kindly welcoming and warm, and seemed to appreciate our message on sacrificial love.
Julie and I then made rounds in the very full ward, checking in on mamas and babies. Each mama seemed to so appreciate our small interaction. These are courageous women, who keep alive their "big-headed" babies rather than disposing of them. My emotions ran the gamut of admiration to heart-break, from hope to despair, from joy to sorrow. One of our little babies was here in September when we were here, and since they've not been able to control the infection in her brain, she is not doing well. The mama is trying to be strong in the face of a not very hopeful prognosis and clings to the promises of God. I wept for her, especially after hearing that this child follows multiple miscarriages.
|Somewhat unusual, both Mama and Papa came with this precious child.|
|This mama and baby flew in from the Congo for evaluation at CURE|
and Derek and Julie warmly welcomed her.
I chatted happily with the mamas I had made beads with yesterday and was energized by Christine's growing excitement about developing a bead-making business when she returns to Ft. Portal. Her baby is doing well, so she leaves with much hope for her future.
Christine is all set to return to her village with her healthier baby and her bead-making instructions.
In the afternoon, many mamas returned to the hospital for ongoing support and instructions in caring for their children whose lives have been saved at CURE over the past many years. It was so gratifying to see children—who would not have survived without the interventions they received at CURE—thriving! They were so precious.
|This little girl had surgery at CURE last year and is doing really well.|
She is "growing into her head" which is no longer growing.
|The little girl on the far right was operated on by CURE surgeons|
a number of years ago and has a very bright future.
|This little boy has spina bifida and was operated on by CURE when he was very small.|
He navigates amazingly well on his crutches.
It was life-giving to be in that place of healing today. Physical healing. Spiritual healing. All for the glory of God. We leave inspired.
After having tea with a friend at day's end, we had a lovely dinner out with Derek and Julie to mark the end of our time together, and are now packed and ready to hit the road early in the morning.
We were further encouraged today to receive this note from one of the pastors who attended the pastor's marriage retreat:
Derek: I write this mail to send my appreciation for all the great things you did for us in Jinja. Please send my gratitude to Dr. Paul and Virginia without forgetting your wonderful wife. My marriage and family has not remained the same because of the teachings and words of counsel that we got there.
Thank you again for standing with us, for your prayers, and for rejoicing with the good news. We are deeply grateful—and further changed. God is so good.
Virginia (and Paul)