|1st Cor. 5:17
if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, old things have passed away;
behold, all things have become new!"
The stench was
We coughed and our eyes burned...
...but the women were finally here.
| Our Vesico-vaginal
Fistula ( VVF) team had prayed for them to come, but they are very hard to
find. These women are hidden. They all were mothers who had a
traumatic delivery that went on for days only to end with a dead baby and torn
up insides that now continually leak urine.|
Our team feared
they would not find the women in time to receive surgery from our visiting
Doctor Steve. Someone went to look for them. We knew they were
there, but where?! How do you find hidden people? How do you get them the
message? They found 5 - only 5. Our spirits sank.
A week later, one
of our doctors volunteered to go back and search by himself ( he was fluent in
French)-- and found them!! 52 of them! God had answered our
prayers! He loaded up 15 into a rented van and began to drive. They
stopped at an Inn for the night...but there was no room in the Inn (not for these filthy ladies.) This
compassionate doctor chose to sleep in the van with these rejected women
- and the smell. The next day they drove on. Our team here waited...and
waited. They were 11 hours late. At 11pm, they were slowly and
gently led onto the ship. They were soaked, cold, and reeked of
urine. They were led downstairs to the hospital. Our housekeeping
team waited respectfully to clean the urine from the stairs and hall. As
they entered their new, bright and clean environment, they squinted and huddled
together. They were each shown to their beds, but none would lie
down. They knew the beautiful, colorful blankets would be soiled by
them. So the nurses carefully approached them (knowing they have not been
physically touched in many years) and began to encourage them through hand
signals to undress and get cleaned up. No one knew their tribal language, not
even our translators. Bewildered, tired, fearful, they started their
journey to healing.
Every day I would
see these women going one by one into surgery. Those who had surgery
would walk up and down the hall of walk every day holding their catheter
bags. At first they wouldn't look at me out of the shame they had
experienced, but as I gently touched their shoulders, they would look up and I
would wave and smile. This at first brought a cautious grin which over
the days turned into big smiles! One woman was about 40 and had been 'wet'
for 20 years. One was only 12 years old! All have been separated from
friends and family and some their own children because they were
"dirty". That shame showed on their faces, but that soon
On the ship we
have a "graduation day" for these women when they are dry and ready
to go home (some after enduring multiple surgeries). We call it the
"Dress Ceremony." Each woman receives a beautiful new dress
that they wear to the ceremony. There is music and praying and dancing -
oh yes-there is dancing!! They haven't danced in
years, but now they have a reason to dance - they are dry - and they came
to know their Savior is not us but Jesus!
They have been changed. They were physically dirty
and outcast and now have become clean and beautiful and can rejoin their
families. It was VERY easy for them to identify with the concept that
they were also spiritually dirty and outcast and are now "clean"
before God through Christ. Oh Yes!! They danced!!
with those who rejoice!" Romans 12:15a
(Here is a picture
of Dr. Steve, the VVF team and some of their ladies ( with the beads on) after
their Dress Ceremony.)
By His Grace,
Glenn and Kim