Hettie is a very good friend of mine from my time with Mercy Ships. She is currently with the ship, caring for people in the West African country of Togo. Looking at the map, it's seems it's just a narrow strip of land, nearly lost in the many along the southern coast of West Africa. Believe you me. It is not lost and it is not forgotten, at least not in the eyes of the Awesome Editor of Life!
Hettie writes newsletters periodically to friends, family and supporters around the globe. She usually asks me to edit the letters before she sends them out. My editing skills are by no means perfect. I do, enjoy doing it though. I probably should have gone to school for english lit or something like that. Since I don't get to read and critique books for a living, I just help her out when I can. Last night she sent me a letter to edit. It was a fairly short one. Here it is.
I posted this in a hurry. Please don't critique my editing skills:)
Obre is a baby who has a bilateral cleft lip and palate. He was referred to the Infant Program by a pastor from Benin. When he arrived he was 4 months old and weighed 2.81kg (6.2lbs). He did not register on any of the growth charts. He had a tube down his nose, put in by a local hospital to feed him. He was tiny for his age but alert with a lusty cry. We sent him home again, giving teaching to the mother on how to feed Obre with formula and an appointment to return to the ship in three days. On his return he had pulled out the tube in his nose,and had a fever. The doctor assessed him,and it was decided he could stay on the ship so that we could monitor his condition. He slowly began to deteriorate. He was having a progressively more difficult time breathing,and his heart rate was going up. It was a gradual progression,but we were giving him oxygen by mask,and he was struggling for life. It was that night that I decided I was going send out a letter in the morning to ask everyone to pray for healing for Obre. During the night, however, his breathing continued to be laboured,and his heart rate continued to increase. The doctors decided if Obre would have a chance for life they would have to put a tube down his throat to help him breath. The medications were ready and everything was in place to put the tube down. Before they began the procedure Dr. Parker said "Let's pray." While they were praying his breathing became less laboured,and his heart rate came down. The nurse that was taking care of him said that in her fourteen years of nursing she had never witnessed a life saving miracle.
He is now still here with us on the ship. We are slowly feeding him again. His mother loves Jesus,and is often praying over his tiny form.
I pray now he will continue with good health,and gain weight so we can operate to fix his cleft lip.
What an awesome Editor God is! I read through this letter feeling sad and even a little bit cold. When I went to Liberia a couple years ago I foolishly assumed that we were just doing surgery and people would all get better, be healed. Not so. There were patients that came to the ship with all sorts of illnesses. Some had to be turned away because they were to sick to bring into a relatively closed environment, risking the health of the patients already there. There were others who had all sorts of tropical diseases, most of which I had never heard of, lying dormant, but reared their ugly heads once the patient's system was weakened by the surgeries we did. More than one patient died while I was there. It was tough. I have several friends and acquaintances that blog and are still with Mercy Ships. It's not all the time, but there have been several stories of patients dying, both young and not so young. It seems that there have been a lot of little ones who have gone to meet Jesus because their little malnourished bodies couldn't handle the strain of surgery. (They do have a feeding program on the ship to strengthen them before surgery, but it's not always enough or their are other complications. Hettie is actually the coordinator of that program right now.) Anyway, I read this story sure that it was going to be another sad one. They would do all they could. It would not be enough. The staff and the family of the baby would be heartbroken but comforted that the little one was with Jesus. I nearly shouted out loud when I read this. Isn't He amazing! What an awesome Editor of that little boys life! How great is our God that there is a little man named Obre sleeping to the rumble of the ships generators with his Heavenly Father beaming over him!