How do you celebrate Mothers Day in the country with the worst maternal mortality in the world? One way is by celebrating the miraculous work of God as He brings hope and healing to the women and children of South Sudan. Here are two stories, to help you join in, with tears and joy, as God works to transform His people and His world.
Gladys is 13 years old.
Her parents pleaded with us – “Saidu uwo – uwo ayaan – saidu uwo” (“help her, she is sick, please help her”).
For 3 weeks, she had not been out of bed. All her joints ached – she was unable to move them. Bedsores were developing. A traditional healer had made cuts in her right arm “to release the sickness”. Unfortunately, the opposite occurred – infection was introduced, resulting in an abscess in her arm and infection in her bone.
We agreed with her family – “Uwo ayaan kalis” (she is very sick”).
We diagnosed juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA). This usually requires highly specialized care with complicated medicines. These medicines weaken the immune system, so a risk of treatment is overwhelming infection. We had a difficult decision to make – Gladys needed treatment or she would remain bedbound for life; but the treatment may worsen her infection as well as weaken her defenses against malaria, typhoid and the other tropical infections of South Sudan.
We said to her mother – “We will do what we can – and God will do what He will do”.
God is the Great Provider and the Great Healer! He has proven this throughout history – and He chose to do it again! Gladys is a brand new testimony of His Greatness and His Kindness. We looked through our pharmacy and found one effective and inexpensive medicine (methotrexate) suitable for JRA; Kitty, one of our missionary nurses, has extensive experience in a paediatric unit specializing in rheumatoid arthritis in kids; and Linda, another of our missionaries, is a rehab therapist. God had brought Gladys to His House of Hope – and His Provision had come ahead of her!
Her improvement has been dramatic! Her pain and stiffness has resolved. The bedsores have healed. The infection has cleared. And after some slow but steady progress, Dr Perry had the privilege of giving the “doctor’s orders” – “Get up, pick up your mat, and walk!”
And she did! And she smiled! And so did we! And so did God! And so did her mum!
Mother’s Day in Africa is changing – all thanks and glory be to God!