Yesterday I had another experience that filled my heart with such joy and gratitude!!!!! It was another one of those moments when I thanked Heavenly Father for letting me come here. I didn't know of the blessing it was going to be for me when we received the call. I knew it would be wonderful here but I didn't know HOW wonderful. Operation Smile was here a few months ago and they came to offer a pilot program for women.
These surgeries were for women who should have had C-sections for the birth of their babies but there is nowhere to receive this service. They deliver their children naturally but are left with holes in some of their internal organs so that they are incontinent. They are rejected and cast out of their society because of this. Can you imagine this situation. You have the most horrid experience of a terrible labour and after who knows how many hours or days this goes on until the baby is finally delivered and does not live. You had such prolonged pain and lost your baby. Your husband and family all disown you and you have no where to go and no one to turn to. You now are a begger for anything you may need. You have no where to live. Many of these women are young, very young.
These women also came by the thousands in hopes of being chosen for surgery. They could only choose 40 women.
When we entered their hospital room (20 to a room) they were all smiles!! They immediately started to sing and dance for us as they carried their catheter bags with them. As they sang the Spirit in the room was amazing. I could not keep the tears from flowing. They had a spirit of gratitude and love about them that was so strong I couldn't believe how I felt. They were communing with God as they thanked the doctors and nurses and the volunteers that came to help them. I felt His love for them.
Here is a short video of their singing for us.
We went to the hospital with crafts and things for them to do so they could fill their time while they healed.
This man is a member of the church and he had been coming to the hospital every day to help with serving food and other chores that needed to be done.
This is a picture of the title blankets they were making.
We took plastic bags to teach them how to make crocheted purses
and took looms for them to learn how to make small blankets for babies or lap quilts for themselves.
Both of these things could be sold to help them make a living.
These women were working their rooms and were so happy as they worked.
This young girl is so beautiful!!
She had a beautiful smile too.
Africans don't like to smile for pictures to be taken.
So it is hard to get smiles from some.
Here we are crocheting our plastic bags.
I was showing them how to cut the bags soft them to get one long piece to crochet with.
As I was cutting bags I felt like I should bear my testimony to them.
Humanitarian missionaries are not to talk about the church. They simply give service.
So I thought that maybe i should not bear my testimony because I went with them.
As I thought about whether or not I should bear my testimony I received a strong prompting that I should.
So I did bear my testimony and felt the Spirit so strongly.
They seemed to be listening to every word.
That is a fulfillment of a line in my patriarchal blessing.
They visited while they crocheted. They giggled as they worked.
This is the beginning of a bag.
She is making a nice pattern in hers.
They were all so excited.
This woman picked it up very quickly
and she will be able to help the others as they learn after we go.
The operating room is brand new with all the newest equipment that any operating room would have.
The rest of the hospital looks like it is in the Congo.
The halls are dark with no light and everything is held together with a lick and a promise.
This young girl was so happy and you heard her laughing from afar.
She has a hearty laugh that was a joy to listen to.
This girl has other problems to that she has had from birth.
In this country if you are born with a defect you live with it for your whole life.
There is no way to fix even the small things.
These are her legs that are so bowed!
We also took nail polish to make them pretty.
When I asked this woman if I could take a picture of her beautiful toes,
she giggled and stuck her feet out for the picture.
Then I showed her my polish on my toes and she laid her head on my shoulder and laughed and laughed.
The doctors with Operation Smile are absolutely Christ-like!! The service they give is miraculous in the lives of so many as they go throughout the world. The song they sang was interpreted for us. I wish I had videoed the translation but they thanked the doctors and the nurses, they thanked the volunteers who fed them, the volunteers that came to spend time with them and teach them some skills. They thanked us for being their friends because before they only had the flies as friends. It was so sincere but you will have to imagine what it was like to be there!
Operation Smile will be coming back in a few months to perform more surgeries on cleft palettes.
They have already been here once for that.
I look forward to another wonderful experience then.
These men worked at the hospital but not with Operation Smile.
This man had lots of questions for me and I was able to answer them all in my broken French.
Then he asked for a picture.
He got this gentleman to take the picture and then they switched places
so they both had their pictures taken.
Even though they never get a copy of the picture they still want it to be taken. They get to see the picture on the camera and I guess that is good enough for them.
Three hours was hardly long enough but they were getting tired to and needed to rest.
I am so grateful for this opportunity.
We were in heaven, each one of us!!!
To sacrifice to serve a mission, even in the Congo, is no sacrifice at all!
We have been abundantly blessed and I feel like I am getting more than I am giving!!!