Dndransena has been one of the compound gardeners in our compound for a few years already. I really appreciate his work ethic and his ever-happy demeanor, but more importantly, his enthusiasm to play soccer with my boys. :-) He is a delightful guy to have around.
2 months ago I heard that his wife had birthed their 4th daughter. Everyone in the compound congratulated him and I put together a hand-me-down collection of baby things for them as well as a cash gift for things for the family. We were happy for them and assumed everything was fine.
2 days later Dndrasena came to work looking super stressed and about to fall over with fatigue. I found out through my house-help that his wife was having complications after the birth. Dnrasena's mom had also just recently died in the bush where she lived and he had not had a chance to see her beforehand. There was obviously a lot of stress going on in their household. Because of the complications with Ndrasena's wife, Onja, the wee babe was not getting enough milk to eat and - oh my goodness - they were feeding her water as a substitute! My stomach rolls just thinking of my own infant screaming because he's hungry and all he gets to placate him is water?! gah!
Once we heard the problem we immediately gave money for the purpose of purchasing powdered milk and i donated some bottles from our own stash. It seems as though giving water with a spoon to hungry infants is the norm around here, especially with families who come from the isolated areas like Ndrasena does. Fanja and I gave careful instruction about how to properly boil the water used for making the milk and for giving the formula to the infant during the night so that everyone could sleep better. The next day!! he returned to work with a huge smile to tell us that the milk had worked wonders and they all were already feeling much better. At least the mother was able to get some rest and was on her way to healing.
We thought that was the end of it, and were happy to have been able to help one family get better sleep (i have a special sympathy for parents of small babes who don't sleep through the night! :-) ).
A few weeks later Ndrasena came by my house with his wife, and their new baby to show me the little girl and thank us for our help. It was a pleasure to meet her and cuddle the little one. In the course of our translated conversation with them Fanja and i discovered that their next oldest daughter, Sarah, age 4, wasn't in school because she couldn't talk. Fanja in particular couldn't believe this news as Ndrasena had never before mentioned that anything was amiss with his family during the many years he had worked in our compound and ate his meals with the other workers. Apparently the girl could make sounds, that is, she wasn't mute, but she was not able to make intelligible communication with her family or anyone else. For this reason they had kept her out of school.
Ndrasena, Onja his wife, baby Evah and Ezekiel (that's my kid, obviously) :-)
It's interesting how life works, isn't it. I had just been explaining to Fanja the day before how my dear friend Anri-Louise does miraculous work with children who have physical and mental challenges in daily life. She helps kids to sit up who couldn't, she helps kids to walk who couldn't, she enables people to do things they otherwise couldn't. It's difficult to explain the wonders that she does... so i just call it miraculous. Visit her website to read the miracles her and her team do on a daily basis.
I mentioned right there to Fanja that Sarah's problem with speaking seemed just the sort of thing Anri could help with. The ability to overcome this challenge would give Sarah opportunities at school and a future she wouldn't otherwise have. I made some calls and found out that Anri and her colleagues happened to be having a consultation day in the nearby hospital 2 weeks later which Ndrasena and Onja were able to attend with Sarah, free of charge. It was an unexpected gift, to be sure!
Friends, we don't know the ways in which the Lord works for the Glory of His Name, but sometimes we can see glimpses of His back as we hear of His works after the fact... I listened to Anri tell me at the church meeting of her consult with Ndrasena and his wife the day before. How she had seen Sarah and discovered that after some therapy with her Sarah should be able to speak normally without problem. How after the consult the mother, Onja, had asked Anri if she could please take a look at baby Evah's feet as she thought there might be something amiss with them... how Anri recognized the signs of club feet*... how Anri knows good doctors who can remedy the problem with an operation and some braces and how those doctors will take on baby Evah's case because Anri has good relationships with them. Friends, that conversation with Anri was a confirmation to me that the Lord does good things for those who love Him... and for those who don't know Him yet.
*(Clubfoot is a deformity in which an infant's foot is turned inward, often so severely that the bottom of the foot faces sideways or even upward. Approximately one infant in every 1,000 live births will have clubfoot, making it one of the more common congenital (present at birth) foot deformities.
Clubfoot is not painful during infancy. However, if your child's clubfoot is not treated, the foot will remain deformed, and he or she will not be able to walk normally. With proper treatment, however, the majority of children are able to enjoy a wide range of physical activities with little trace of the deformity.
Most cases of clubfoot are successfully treated with nonsurgical methods that may include a combination of stretching, casting, and bracing. Treatment usually begins shortly after birth. Source)
Baby Evah (pronounced 'ae - vah') So sweet
Unfortunately, Ndrasena is one of the very poor. When he heard the information about baby Evah's club feet and the opportunity for her to get an operation to rectify them he only heard the cost. So he stopped listening when Anri told them where to go and who to talk to. When i asked him to come by later to give me an update on Sarah's speech progress he told us that he had not gone to see the doctor for Evah's feet as Anri had directed. When i asked him why not he said it cost too much. Despite the fact that i had told him even before the appointment with Anri that i would pay for any treatments necessary. With the money I have from Distaff sales. I suppose, like many people, he just didnt believe that this free gift was for real? I don't know. But i
badgered encouraged him into moving forward with the assumption that if he and his wife were willing to do the work to allow their daughters the opportunities to improve their lives with these therapies and operations, then I was willing to pay the financial cost.
So yesterday is the day Evah was to see the doctor for her operation and to get the 'plats' to put on her feet. I pray that she will suffer the process without too much crying for the sake of her mom and family. This initial stage of the treatment cost approximately $30. The price of a basket at the Distaff Sale. :-) It's really quite astounding to me that one person purchasing a basket in Manitoba pays for the beginning of a life-changing opportunity for a little baby girl.
I'll update here i hear how baby Evah is doing. Please pray for this family of 6, that they would continue to see the power of God at work in their lives as He gifts them help for their children and surrounds them with Believers who pray for them and supply help as needed.
Two days ago Onja came to me with the paperwork and price outlines for the operation to get the money from me. She had been by previously with other news which led me and Fanja and Solo, both workers at my house that day, to pray over her. It was an amazing experience for me just to join with these people who work in my home and in my garden in prayer as siblings in Christ. Wow. Anyway, so this second time Onja returned to meet me and we went through the information and i gave out the money for the operation she was just readying to leave when she asked if we might pray for her again. Truly, it was a gift for me to hear this request. And it was another lovely experience to call together my fellow prayer warriors to hold her up before the Master of the Universe, for the well-being of her and her marriage, for each of her girls and their unique challenges that they are facing, and to celebrate that Onja has a glimpse of the power of the Almighty One. We thanked God in a medley of languages for the ways He had already so clearly answered our prayers from the previous visit. I could only say to Fanja as we watched Onja leave for home that all this going on in their family is such a ripe opportunity for God to show His power to these dear people. I do hope that they have the eyes to see it and have hearts that will open to an ever increasing display of His love and abundant blessing.