Sunday, February 26, 2012

Thankful Father

“One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, ‘Praise God!’” Luke 17

A man from a remote area of Kenya where our Savior is not typically worshiped brought his young son to our clinic the other day.  His son had a tumor that was growing in his back.  The father, having already paid for a CT scan (the cost of which is about 2 months’ wages for the average Kenyan), was hoping that we could help his son.  We admitted the boy to the hospital and my partner, Ruth Mayforth and Ken our pediatric surgery fellow, removed the mass a few days later.  By God’s grace the tumor was benign; the boy recovered well and was to be discharged.  At this point, his father asked to speak to me privately.  He explained that he is a farmer in a rural part of Kenya where the drought has been particularly severe.  He and his family have few resources, and he didn’t have the money to pay the bill.  This is a very common problem among patients at Kijabe Hospital.  BethanyKids’ goal is that no child is turned away for the inability to pay.  Because of generous supporters in the USA, Canada, the UK and elsewhere, those of us working with BethanyKids of Kijabe Hospital (BKKH) who take care of children with surgical problems are able to meet the needs of indigent children and families who would otherwise have few other places to turn.  I explained to the father that we would work with him.  I encouraged him to talk with family and friends to raise some of the funds and to see about selling one of his goats to raise some money so that we could continue to do this work for other children like his son.  His son was discharged with BethanyKids’ covering the overwhelming majority of the bill.  (This is almost unheard of in this part of the world.  Patients expect to be kept in the hospital until the bills are paid in full.)  A few days later, one of our chaplains called me to tell me that Baba Mohamed (Father of Mohamed – my pseudonym) was at the hospital and wanted to talk to me.  This father and his “uncle” had come to thank us and to give us 50,000KSh (about $600) to help cover the bill.  The dad was effusive with gratitude for the care his son received but also for the mercy and grace shown to him – that we let them go home without their having paid the entire bill.  He shook my hand and hugged my neck.  I was so touched by his gratitude.  I thanked him deeply and told him how his returning reminded me of the story in the Bible where one out of ten lepers came back to Jesus to thank Him for the healing he received.

We are His hands and feet and our actions often speak so much louder than words.

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