15 Jun A Life Changed
In June 2016 a brigade from the Burnt Hickory Church of Christ from Kennesaw, Georgia came to serve a village by the name of Crucitas. It was during that brigade that I first laid eyes on Iris, a 9 year old girl born with cerebral palsy. I was giving our usual translator a break and was translating for Dr. Robert Lester.
That day Iris was very close to death. She had pneumonia and was severally malnourished, weighing only 27 pounds. Iris’ mother was burdened, knowing that she needed to take Iris to the hospital but as a single mom of three, one of whom was a newborn still nursing, she was forced to decide for the good of her entire family. Without family support to tend to the other children, she could not take her daughter to the hospital because the hospital would require her to stay with Iris at all times and would not allow her to have the other children there with her.
I cried with her that day. Her pain felt very real and personal to me after our experiences with our own son. Unlike Iris, Harrison had experienced incredible support, the best medical attention, and was thriving in spite of his traumatic brain injury. How could I ignore this child’s need for good nourishment and help after having been blessed so abundantly? I was blessed to see the compassion and understanding of Dr. Lester and we did what we could under the circumstances.
After Iris and her mother left the clinic, I called Phil and told him that I had to do something. One of Iris’ issues was her need for liquid nutrition because of her inability to chew and eat regular food. We are presented daily with needs and we simply can’t meet them all, but I knew that it was no coincidence that God had placed me with Dr. Lester in that very moment and that I had to respond. Phil went right away to purchase the first of many cans of Ensure for Iris. In no time, the antibiotics we had given her along with her new form of nutrition brought Iris back from near death to thriving.
All we had to do was share her story and God began to provide. The source of that provision was from two precious young girls, annual participants with their parents in brigades. Unbeknownst to their parents, these girls had been saving the portion of their allowance that was designated for their own spending in order to give it to someone more needy. When they heard the story of Iris, they gave their savings to their parents for them to send to buy food for Iris. One of the girls actually asked that her birthday gifts this year be in the form of money for the purpose of giving to Mission UpReach.
Iris’ story is just one of the many lives that have been impacted by brigades. And what about the lives of the two young girls who came and saw and were changed? It is a privilege and honor to join God in what He is doing to bring a little of heaven to earth. Meanwhile we all wait for that glorious day when all will be made right. Iris will be made perfect and her family, along with many others who daily suffer from poverty and oppression will enjoy the riches of heaven because someone cared enough to share the good news of Jesus with them.