Neither Will nor I work directly with patients. Our roles are ones of support, enabling other crew to carry our Mercy Ship’s mission to fllow the 2000-year-old model of Jesus, bringing hope and healing to the forgotten poor.
Consequently, we sometimes lose sight of why we’re here and get discouraged.
Today, I was reminded of why we’re here. The reminder came as a cute little girl named Yvonne. Yvonne sat next to me at a church service this morning at the Hope Center. At first, I didn’t notice as we clapped, smiled and sang together. Then, I spied her toes sticking out the tops of her little shoes and the long burn marks down her legs.
Many Africans cook with open fires, boiling water and oil in the open air. People, very often children, can be severely burned in accidents, resulting in scarring and burn contractures, which can severely affect range of motion. Such was Yvonne’s story.
Yvonne’s legs and feet had been burned in a fire accident in her home in the far north part of Cameroon. Because her family did not have access to the necessary medical and surgical care to take care of the wounds, Yvonne’s body closed the wounds by contracting the skin. This closing of the skin pulled her toes toward her ankle. Though the wounds are now healed, the disability remains.
The cute little Yvonne sitting beside me, playing games with my fingers, would likely have had to live with the disability for the rest of her life if Mercy Ships hadn’t pulled into the port of Douala, Cameroon.
Now she has the opportunity of restoration of her feet. Further, she and her mom are experiencing the love of Christ in action. That’s why we’re here and that’s what keeps us going.