I write this blog from the ministry machine as we make our way back to Mbarara. We have just finished our 3 days of clinic in Ishaka. The Due Unto Others/Renewal Health Network/Call2Africa team has seen and treated over 730 patients, after which we are a little leg weary. Our spirits, however, are energized as we have seen more than 130 people give their lives to Christ. The Gospel was shared to groups, to individuals, through video and through a puppet show. Medical care was once again a magnet to draw people in, to hear about Jesus.
As we live our lives, we sometimes don’t appreciate the changes that can happen in the span of 1 year. Our team has seen the huge difference a single year can make this week in Ishaka.
Ishaka Community Church is almost unrecognizable approximately one year after we visited them in 2014. You might recall this blog that I wrote about the Ishaka medical clinic last year. As we arrived to start our clinic this week, we noticed a nice metal building with a concrete floor. Last year, we worked out of a small tent on uneven ground. We even had to scramble for cover when a rainstorm came and almost collapsed the tent. Ishaka Community’s Pastor, Sam, told us that he does not think that the church would have gotten started without the medical clinic that we hosted last year. Our clinic in 2014 was one week before the church opened. Sam says that almost all of their original members came from that 2 days of clinic. Ishaka is a community with a heavy Muslim influence. The district did not want the church to start, but the initial momentum of the church allowed it to succeed.
What a difference a year has made for Crispus. You might remember this photo from last summer.
When we saw Crispus, she had been severely burned and her foot was scarred up against her leg. She was unable to stand or walk because of the scarring and contractures of the foot. Through God’s provision and Due Unto Others donors, Crispus was able to receive multiple operations to relieve the scarring and contractures. When we arrived on Monday, Crispus RAN out to greet us!
What a blessing to see a child given a second chance at a normal life. Some of her scars are starting to get tight again as she grows, so she will be meeting us in Mbarara tomorrow to have some more surgeries done. Thank you for your prayers and support that has helped Crispus.
The last 12 months have proven to be a dramatic change for Gift also. We had seen him last year and he had a horrible bone infection of his lower leg. It had pus draining from it and he could barely stand. I was quite concerned that the leg might require amputation. Again, through multiple surgeries and IV antibiotics, Gift was healed. He greeted us when we arrived the second day. Through our God’s healing power and the efforts of many, Gift has gone from a horrible infection that threatened life and limb to being a healthy boy in one year!
Just one year ago, Mud in Your Eyes was just a “vision” that God had given me. It was on this same drive back from Ishaka in 2014 that we discovered and met Dr. Simon. Dr. Simon is an Ophthalmologist that teaches at Mbarara University Eye Hospital. Part of our emphasis, during the past 3 days, has been to find people with cataracts that could be repaired surgically. Dr. Simon sent an Ophthalmology clinical officer (like a PA in the USA), named Grace, with us every day this week. He has identified 20 patients that need surgical intervention. About half of those are cataracts, and the others are anything from glaucoma to possible tumors to inverted eyelids that need repair. So in turning the pages of one calendar, Mud in Your Eyes has been launched in Uganda. I regret not getting a picture, but near the end of the clinic today, we saw an old couple. In fact, the lady had received a number to be seen but the husband had not. After we noticed him, we sneaked him in the back door to get Grace to look at him too. Alfred and Queen will be traveling as a couple to Mbarara on June 1st for an evaluation for cataract surgery. What a blessing it will be to them. Can you imagine the demonstration of God’s love that will be witnessed by their whole village!
We have 6 remaining clinics as we continue with our mission trip of 2015. Our number one goal will be to share the Gospel and allow the Holy Spirit to win souls for God. After that, we will continue to look for That One Person that we can make a difference for medically. Please continue to pray for our team and those with whom we interact over our remaining clinics.
There’s power in the Mud!