This morning at church a family got up and told us the story of their son who was in a horrific accident earlier in the year which badly burnt his upper body. It was one of those stories where the story teller could not keep from choking in emotion, triggering the tears of those listening. They spoke of the heartache and trauma of the ordeal but how clearly God’s hand was working in the situation. Even though God continues to heal and walk this road with them, they still feel the continuing pain of their beloved son as he now walks this path of recovery.
I couldn’t help but sit there and think of each of our plastic surgery patients who come to the ship with such disfigurements after terrible burns. Many of these burns happen from the open fires that are used for every day cooking. If the family has money there can be hospital treatment for the burns, but as the baby, child or adult grows and the burnt skin contracts it pulls the limb into an often unusable position.
Each of these patients have their story of horror and pain. We marvel at many of them who have miraculously survived such horrific ordeals. It is such a joy to be able to operate on these patients and give them back mobility for everyday life. You can see the story of Lucrech and how his life was transformed.
Even though I’m not currently on the ship, I think about it every day. Not just because my friends who have been holidaying between field services are returning and posting photos and not just because I’m back in the nursing workforce in Australia with a huge pile of paperwork to complete, but also because every day I’m hearing and reading on the news about the Ebola outbreak in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Yesterday I watched a very interesting clip by the Vice President of Programs and Government Relations for Samaritan's Purse, giving an update on what is being done and how to move forward to see it ended. Unfortunately there is no easy answer. Even with 200 billion dollars given by The World Bank, hundreds of people will risk their lives to see this deadly disease put to a stop. I have spent 10 months in both Sierra Leone (2011) and Guinea (2012-13) and walked away a better person for the people that I met and looked after. People such as these:
What can I do but pray that their lives are spared and the disease contained and put to an end?
Mercy Ships has issued a statement on the Ebola situation. The country we sail to next (Benin) has not had a known Ebola patient, so we will continue with the current plan.
I’ve seen a small boy dying of a haemorrhagic illness and it was horrible and heartbreaking. To think of this happening all over these three countries brings me not only to tears, with an ache in my heart but to my knees to beg God for mercy for His children. Join with me?