Friday, 6 April 2012

A Benevolence Opportunity

Something that we've always appreciated that God brings our way are opportunities to show His love and compassion through benevolence. Some weeks ago, such an opportunity came up when we visited a local church. There we met a 69 years-old man named Vincent Elumba in a sad situation. He is totally destitute- living in a single room, with nothing to his name but a few dirty, used-up changes of clothes, unable to work any more because of his health. He had a number of problems- high blood pressure, which was causing bad eyesight, a slowly growing cataract, and a horrid infection on his foot. He came up and asked if there was anything we could do to help. Seeing his obvious need, we were grateful that through the support of the Saints, we were in a position to help. So, that following week, I (Jeremiah), took him to the hospital for a check up. We did a number of tests (which is when we found that his BP was 198/120) and also had some x-rays done of his foot. They found that the foot, which has been infected since he cut himself accidentally with a machete while farming eight years ago, has become infected in the bone. We had to go, on another day, down to a different hospital in a different town to see a specialist about it. After a 7 hour wait, the specialist saw us, and told Vincent that he will need to amputate, as the infection in the bone would be very difficult to cure, and the skin has peeled back too much to regrow. He said that there was a good chance that the infection would eventually kill him, either by spreading, turning ulcerous, or becoming cancerous. Vincent was pretty shocked at this... and did not want to do it. He didn't know how he could recover, who would take care of him, or how to pay for the work. I told him that the money wasn't a problem- I knew that the Saints in the States would help. However, he still did not want to do it, feeling that he is so old (life expectancy here is in the 50s) that the several months it would take for the operation and then recovery would be to big a chunk of the rest of his life. We were able to get his BP under control with medication, and had his eyesight checked out. He ended up not using the glasses that we got, as his eyesight improved enough from his blood pressure returning to normal. After a few weeks we went back to the specialist, and after another 8 hour wait, we were able to see the specialist again. Vincent told him that he really does not want to amputate, and asked if there was anything else that he could try. The doctor understood and said that, though amputation was the only thing that could really take care of the problem and eliminate risks of further complications, he would let him try salt baths, honey wraps, and antibiotics. I also got him some multi-vitamins, as I know that his diet is not very good, and a walking cane to help support his weight. There was nothing else we could do for the meantime, but will try this and go back in a month and see what happens. Perhaps, with lots of prayers and carefully following the prescribed treatment, he will make at least sufficient progress that they will not still advise amputation. Vincent was really happy to see me when I went back last Sunday, and says that he is feeling stronger, his eyesight has improved, and his foot is not hurting any more. In fact, he told me he is just carrying his cane now for "nyanga" or to look cool. :) Please keep this in prayers. I am grateful God gave us this chance to show God's love. Pray that Vincent will see that (I think he does) and that we can continue to have a deeper impact on his spiritual health in the future. I am actually teaching at his church this month.

Vincent in the Hospital before treatment.

His infected foot before cleaning.
Getting his eyes checked out. 

Vincent with his cane at the assembly, feeling stronger.

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