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Encourage Glenn and Kim
Kim&Glenn



Did You Know?
Benin is the size of Pennsylvania.

There are 8.5 million people in Benin and 7.9 million live in the south near the ship. 

68,000 of those have AIDS.

Benin!
benin


The Hidden Women
1st Cor. 5:17

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new!"

The stench was real.

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 changed.
 
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!!  Hallelujah! 
 
"Rejoice with those who rejoice!" Romans 12:15a

vvfteam
(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

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