Monday July 20, 2009
Day 5 “Helpless & Hopeful”
“…I’m not sure anything could have really prepared me for what I saw today in the Government Hospital Children’s Ward…”
The day started with our team helping the missionary, Doug Meyers, unload a trailer of supplies, then reload it for a project we’ll be helping with on Saturday. I enjoyed this short little project at the warehouse to start the day because as we worked Doug was able to point out different items and say, “A team from Texas donated this, a team from Issaquah donated that.”
It’s neat to see that when we give to a cause like missions work, that we are indeed just one small part of a very large process. Today we had a hand in continuing the good work that another team had already started. Chances are that another team will get to complete the work that we furthered. We don’t always get to harvest what we plant, often someone else gets to water and then another gets to harvest. I love that in God’s work we all play a vital role along the way.
After our morning workout we headed out to what’s known as the Government Hospital. Doug tried to prepare us for the visit, however, I’m not sure if anything could have really prepared me for what I saw today in the Government Hospital Children’s Ward. The dilapidated exterior of the building was a preview of what was to follow once we ventured inside. It has been said that people don’t come to the government hospital to get well, they go there to die.
The first room we came to was the infant ICU where two mothers rocked their children. It was quiet and the only time the silence was broken was when one of the two swollen-faced babies began to cry. Through an interpreter our team was able to pray with the mothers and their children. At the Government Hospital in Swaziland nursing is not like in a United States hospital. Mothers, fathers, or relatives of the patient are responsible for nursing duties. The doctor comes once during the day to check on a patient’s status. Do to the large amount of child patients, rooms are filled with beds lining the walls and a common area is in the middle.
I wasn’t sure I could handle staying in the Children’s Ward once we entered the next room. The cries from kids, the hopeless feeling in the room was almost too much for me. I went over to a 5 ½ year old girl who was screaming at the top of her lungs in agony. Her nose was bleeding and her mother tried to sooth her with tissue and a calming voice. I stood there at the foot of her bed not knowing what to do or how to react.
After starring and standing for what seemed like forever I broke the silence and started trying to communicate. The girl’s mother spoke a little English and I was able to understand the basics of why the child was admitted. There had been a surgery done earlier on this little one and a stitch that hadn’t worked correctly that was causing major bleeding. She bled for four straight days before they brought her in and now finally she was receiving treatment. I asked if I could pray, they agreed and I started in. My voice quivered as I prayed, tears were building, I felt helpless.
Here I was praying to the creator of the universe and I felt as if I was powerless in the situation. The truth is, I was. On my own I had no power to take away her pain. God alone could help that little girl, I began praying in the Spirit because I knew they couldn’t understand me anyway and I wasn’t entirely sure what to pray. I gained confidence praying in tongues for her and as I grabbed the sobbing girl’s hand suddenly she stopped crying. I got her a toy from the suitcase (a princess wand w/ a magical chime sound) and continued to talk with the mother until it was time to move to the next room.
Simply by being there with gifts, smiles, and prayers our team was changing the atmosphere in each hospital room we visited. I knew that God cared about every patient there and that He knew just how help them. I learned that I could trust in God no matter what situation I faced. I was helpless by myself, I had nothing to offer on my own, but when I came representing God almighty that was a different story entirely. He is the hope of the world and the hope I got to give to children and their families in the hospital was tangible.
We finished the day by spending some time at the Sandra Lee Orphanage. The children used us like monkey bars and it was uplifting to be around them. The highlight of our time with these orphans was when one boy asked Shawn Seeley, “How come your muscles are bigger than DJ’s? Could you kill DJ?”
It was a good day today, I learned that I can’t offer much on my own to people in need. However, a smile, a toy, and a prayer offered in faith will do more than I’ll ever know.