Dust rose in soft billows around the tires of our Jeepney as we slowly moved past bicycles, pedestrians, and dogs along the roadway. The vehicle came to a stop in a little community that is known by the locals as “Hillside”. It was here that we would unload our supplies and set up an open air clinic in the center of the community. Well-worn tarps had been suspended to protect us from the heat of the Philippine sun. It was here, on the edge of society, far, far from the comforts of our civilized homes, that we first met Neljane and her mother Jennifer.
We treated little Neljane for a dental infection but noticed her bluish lips and nailbeds and an oxygen saturation that dipped below 80. On further investigation, an echocardiogram revealed a serious combination of heart defects known as Tetralogy of Fallot that would require a surgical repair to correct the defect and allow little Neljane to survive and grow up to live a normal life.
At the end of that long, hot visit to Hillside we climbed back into the Jeepney 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!
Postscript for Neljane: Thanks to YOUR gifts and prayers, and to tender love of the Father above, Neljane’s heart has been repaired and is healing well! Praise to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ for this beautiful gift of life to little Neljane!