Saturday, November 16, 2013

The cure for Ward 8

On our recent trip to Swaziland, several steps into Ward 8 of the government hospital, I knew my heart would be troubled.  

Little did our hosts know how familiar I was with this picture of pacing, praying, and waiting at my husband's hospital bedside.  He has a past filled with much pain and surgeries.

So I understand that it's necessary and needed to help bring a cure or fix a problem.  

We were there to visit one of the Children's Cup orphans who had a minor procedure done.  Allison had gone in for what would be considered an outpatient procedure in an American hospital.  So I didn't think was going to be a huge deal, until I was a few steps in.  We walked through the first hallway and the smell of death greeted us. The aroma of fish filled the hallways. 

At least there was a hot meal being served.  

I looked up to pray one of my arrow prayers..."Dear God, help my heart to handle what's next." As I looked up, I noticed some ceiling tiles that were missing and some that were in need of repair.  The paint along the walls were worn.  There were people needing medical attention lining another hallway, sitting on the cold cement floor.  Waiting.  

People looking a cure.

I thought to myself, "How could a place that offers healing, need so much repair?"  My heart was certainly troubled.  My emotions were assaulted with all kinds of thoughts and silent questions,  while the smell of death was overwhelming my lungs.  I looked at other team members, they were feeling the weight of Ward 8 also.  

We waited to get permission to see our young friend.

Our hosts went before us and found out that Allison had been moved to the ladies ward because the beds in the children's wing were too small.  She was forced to be an adult once again at the young age of 10.    

One of the striking things about children in Africa, is the fact that because of the high HIV death rate, kids have to grow up fast.  Kids take care of siblings and themselves, many times without adult supervision, leaving them as double orphans.  Alone in a adult world.  Kids don't have much of a chance to be just children.

A generation of parents is missing in Swaziland, Africa.  

While we were waiting outside the children's wing, it was decided that we would go ahead the visit the children in Ward 8 and try to cheer them with some sweet treats.   We walked into three crowded rooms with small children laying weak and fragile.  

Beside each bed, sat sadness.  I saw things that only my heart would understand.   I sensed desperate cries and my eyes brimmed with tears for the broken and the frail.   God immediately comforted me with this verse...  

Psalm. 147:3  "God heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds."

I thought of all the times I had sat by a hospital bed, waiting for my loved one's pain to disappear.  Those days seem endless.  

...Filled with questions...
...fears and tears....
...confusion and loneliness...
...even helplessness...
...searching for God in the middle of our crisis...

...and desperate to hope.  

My heart was in pieces, as I looked into the pain-laden eyes of those who were there holding those little hands in Ward 8, I wanted to wave my magic wand for each and every child to receive the cure needed.  

Our team moved from bed to bed praying...some silently and some not, but all praying for health and hope to be restored.  

Every bed moved my heart more.

We moved to the women's ward and found Allison peacefully sleeping.  "How does sweet sleep come here?"  There was a scurry of activity from a nurse attending to the other 30 patients.  It was so crowded, open, bare and stark.  

Our host gently touched Allison's still body.  As she woke up, she was calm, but not scared. She wasn't crying or begging to eat ice cream.  She only smiled.  The brightest smile that seemed to put a little salve on my broken heart.  Her smile seemed to erase the desperation I just saw from Ward 8.  

God used her smile to remedy my heart.

At least there was some place to go to for people to get some help. 

I found out later by one of the medical missionaries that a patient only went to this barren place to die.  That's when I lost it...when I was alone that day.  So many have gone in and not come out.  

That's when God reached down and reminded me that these kids aren't alone.  He is the ultimate Healer, in her smile God reassured me of Psalm 91:11  "For He will command his angels concerning you and guard you in all your ways."

I was able to leave Allison, knowing she was in God's tender care.  (She is doing great today and is healing nicely).

Jesus is our cure.  Jesus cures what maligns and invades our bodies.  Jesus comforts our desperate hearts.  What the enemy uses to abuse us physically is cured by the work of Jesus. The gospel changes everything and it's simply bigger than a Band-Aid covering our hurts, scrapes, wounds and bruised spirits.  

God's cure mends what's broken in our lives.   He binds His cure in His perfect love. What a comfort to know that we have a God who cares, loves and intervenes.  

Children's Cup is helping with the cure, not just with medical needs but with the gospel that silences the desperate cries for love and hope.  Can you help be the cure for hurting hearts in Africa?  Send help today.  
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