Dust rose in soft billows around the tires of our multicab transport as we slowly moved past bicycles, pedestrians and dogs along the roadway. The vehicle came to a stop in a little community that is knows by the locals as “Hillside”. We unloaded our supplies and set up an open air clinic in the center of the community where tarps had been suspended to protect us from the sun. I have been to this place before. There are many young families and a few older folks as well. Medical care is provided by the community leader Daisy and the “Barangay health workers” who handle everything from delivering newborns to care for the dying in the community. Early into the morning I see a patient that I remember from last year, a man who has such severe gout that the uric acid crystals were bursting forth through the skin that covered his deformed joints. Last year we sent him to the hospital for tests and treatment. He is now out of medication and suffering once more. Fortunately there was a large amount of gout medication donated and I am able to refill him for the next 6 months. He thanked me profusely, shaking my hand with his twisted, swollen fingers before he shuffled away on painful feet, praising God for bringing us together again. Later I spotted another familiar face, a concerned looking mother holding 5 year old Neljane who has a severe heart problem. An echo done previously shows that she has Tetralogy of Fallot, a combination of serious congenital heart defects. Little Neljane has a dental infection which I treat with antibiotics. But she will not reach adulthood unless she undergoes surgery to repair her heart. Her last echo was 4 years ago when she was 10 months old so I ordered a new echo, chest xray and ekg and sent them into town with Daisy. Once we have those results, we can find a surgeon who is willing and able to repair her broken heart.
I have seen mothers in the past who have gone all the way through the screening process, only to back out at the last moment and choose a path that leads to death for her child…
At the end of the long, hot day we climbed back into the multicab with all of our gear and headed back into town. The sound of the gears and the hot breeze blowing into the open sided vehicle allowed my mind to wander for a few moments. I recalled the words of Jesus in John chapter 14…
“Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in Me.”
You see, we all have a congenital heart problem that only Jesus can repair. When sin entered the world, it entered the hearts of our ancestors who passed it on to us. We will not reach heaven without heart surgery. And He is willing and able to repair our broken hearts by taking our sin, and the punishment of death, upon Himself to give us the gift of eternal life. But we must believe to receive.
There are many obstacles ahead for Neljane and her mother. Will her mother have the courage to move forward with the surgery? I have seen mothers in the past who have gone all the way through the screening process, only to back out at the last moment and choose a path that leads to death for her child… Will Neljanes mother trust us enough to choose the path that leads to life? Would you? Will you trust Jesus to repair your heart and receive the gift of eternal life?
Ready to begin? Just believe!