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December 8, 2017

Miracle in Mayuge

No  words  would come  as Harriet settled  into a molded plastic  chair next to the crib  holding her son, perhaps to  watch his final breaths. She  struggled between the instinct to  cradle him in her arms and the fear  that suggested she keep him at a distance  to protect the emotions threatening to flood her  mind. The metal bars around his tiny body seemed  to represent the prison of hopelessness she had been in  for so many years. And yet, the soft spoken words, kind  touch and constant prayers of the woman hovering over her child  seemed to somehow give her a measure of comfort –something she had  not felt in a long time.

Time.    It seemed  that she had  too much time to  think about her circumstances  while her son may not have nearly  enough. She no longer believed there  was hope, but determined to be content   with the knowledge that she had at least  found some help for Ali, even if it was too  late to save his life. It was painful to have lost   two babies because her body could not manage to survive   malaria and pregnancy at the same time, but this child she  had held in her arms and nourished with her own body, then   watched him slowly decline. When he became sick, she took him   to a local health center but they were unable to offer much help.     The people in her community told her he was cursed so she took him to  the witch doctor where he was made to sit in a basin of tribal medicines  for hours and continued to worsen. By the time she walked in the door of Kigandalo Health  Center seeking help from Serving His Children, his one-­‐and-­‐a-­‐half-­‐year-­‐old body weighed  only 12 pounds and nearly a third of his skin was already gone, exposing infection ridden flesh.  Harriet could tell from the way people looked at her son that they too felt there was little hope.    Except for Constance, that praying nurse… “I felt a lot of pain because the child was in such a terrible  condition. I had hope because of God, but she felt so sad and concerned that he was not going to survive.  We have worked very hard, but it is only God who saved this child’s life!” Nurse Constance

Harriet  searched for  an escape in her  mind from the reality  of the critical condition  of the child in front of her.    She thought back to her first marriage  at the age of 12 and the birth of her  first child soon after. That husband was a  good man and provided well for his small family  as a boda (motorcycle for hire) driver until the night  when he was murdered and his bike stolen. Fearful of raising  a child alone Harriet quickly remarried, but after delivering three  more boys her husband became angry and his family chased her away saying  she was cursed because she could not produce a girl. Her third husband seemed   kind at first, but after Ali was born he became abusive and Harriet escaped with her  five young boys to manage on her own as best she could. She received barely enough money  digging in a neighbors garden to rent a small hut where they could sleep at night and provide  small amounts of food, but not to care for a sick child.

Her  thoughts  were interrupted  as Pastor Hillary  quietly pulled up a  chair near Ali’s bed and  asked if he could pray for   her. Harriet had come to know  Jesus as a young girl and had prayed  in her teenage years, but now at the age  of 23 she no longer believed prayer could make  a difference. Her circumstances seemed beyond help,  but she agreed to his offer, if for no other reason  than to provide a distraction and some company. As the  pastor prayed she began to feel a peace and, although Ali’s  condition seemed the same she felt somehow encouraged.

Even  the SHC  medical team  had not thought  Ali would survive  the first night at  the center, but it had  now been over 48 hours and   he was still hanging on. The  nurses and doctors here cared for  Ali in his weakened condition as if  he were truly valuable, like he was worth  saving and Harriet felt a flicker of hope.

Three  days passed,  then four and  soon a week had  gone by. Nurse Constance  told Harriet that people all  around the world were lifting  up prayers for God to heal her  son; Ali was not yet healthy, but  he was alive and hope slowly began to  replace the fear and discouragement that  had become her constant companions. God was  working a miracle in a small health center in  rural Uganda to physically heal the body of a little  boy and heal the heart of his mother!

Four  weeks later  Harriet could  hardly believe she  was preparing to take  her son home. God had not  only healed her son, He had  changed her life through the prayers  and teaching that had been her daily  routine during her stay. She had knowledge  to change the health of her family and had learned  that God was truly her refuge in any situation. Even  in the last days at the center God had provided the means  to create an income to care for her family through the gift  of a pair of goats from a partner organization, Give a Goat.   Harriet brought her child to Serving His Children in a desperate search  for help and found hope, restoration and transformation; a true miracle! Harriet’s  story is just one of many that unfolded this year in our Rural Malnutrition Rehabilitation  Program, operated in partnership with the Uganda government, in Mayuge; one life saved, another  transformed, the Gospel displayed and the cycle of malnutrition broken in one more family. Because  of the generous support from people like you, soon malnutrition will be scarce in Mayuge district;  health is being restored  to children, families  are being empowered through  education, and communities  are finding sustainable  solutions to identify, treat  and prevent  malnutrition.   And when that is   achieved, it will be  time for us to begin again  in a new community. Please consider  making a year-­‐end contribution; join us  in celebrating the miracles of 2017 and partner  with us to break the cycle of malnutrition in families  and communities across Uganda in 2018. Thank you for your  support!


Renee Bach