All around us, people have needs. Some are more obvious than others and some we may be equipped to meet – to make a difference in their lives. The question is, will we stop for the one? Luke Hanna did. Luke, who has a nursing degree, is on the World Race in Rwanda. He relates the following story.
“Hey, Luke,” I heard. “Can you come check this out?”
Lindsay was holding a 2-year old boy named Jimy. His whole arm was charred from a severe burn. I put on some gloves and assessed his wound. It appeared to be a 2- or 3-day-old wound. His little fingers were burned so badly that there were stuck together. He winced and pulled away from me as I moved his arm to look closer. I looked up into his little brown eyes, and I could almost feel the pain with him.
Gabbie (an EMT back in the States) and I agreed that he needed immediate medical attention – an operation to remove all of the charred tissue and let new skin grow there. We knew that if he did not get to hospital soon, the consequences could be dire.
We located his mother and called a taxi. We arrived at the hospital. By that point, Jimy warmed up to us.
We began the waiting game. Hours and hours passed. Jimy’s arm began to hurt more and it started to look worse throughout the day. He got sleepy and very cranky. We each took turns holding him and distracting him. Around 5:00pm we finally spoke with the trauma doctor who would be able to help us.
His name was Dr. Leon and we quickly became friends as he learned that we were both medical professionals. We talked with him a while about Jimy’s injury, and he asked us if he was our child.
We laughed, “No, we had actually just met him that morning.” We told him about the World Race and our calling to serve and love people in 11 countries for these 11 months.
Dr. Leon was amazed. He was blown away by our commitment to bring a stranger’s child to the hospital and offer to cover all of his medical expenses.
“You all are doing amazing work. If you keep doing good things like this, you will surely earn God’s love for the next life,” he said with a big grin.
“Thank you so much, but we believe that we already have God’s love through Jesus. He loves us, so we just get to love other people in return.” I said.
With that he was speechless. After a while he asked us the question that Gabbie and I had been secretly hoping for all day.
“Would you like to help us in the operation?” He asked.
UH, YEAH. How could we turn that down?!
We learned then that there were many patients ahead of Jimy, and that it would be several hours or even another day until he could have his debridement operation.
A few hours later, at around 10:00pm, Dr. Leon said the operating room was ready and they would soon begin the operation. We found our way to the operating room. We sat with Jimy and his parents for a little while until I went up to the nurse’s station and asked them if we would be able to help with the operation.
“No, that is not allowed. It is against hospital protocol.”
Dr. Leon was not on duty that night, so we thought our chance had gone.We knew it was getting late, so we decided we had better get back to the hotel. Just then a little man walked through the door and said,
“Are you from the United States?”
“Yes,” we replied.
“My name is Paul. Are you nurses?” he asked.
We explained that I was a nurse and that Gabbie was an EMT.
“Well are we going together on this baby?”
“Yes, of course!”
Within a few minutes Dr. Paul had found us some sterile scrubs and escorted us to the operating room. They brought our little Jimy into the room and began the operation in no time at all. It only took about 30 minutes, but it seemed like hours to me.
I wish I could say that I handled it very well and that my nurse training kicked in and that I handled it like a champ, but I barely made it out of that room still standing. It was much harder than I imagined seeing this baby I had fallen in love with undergo such a painful operation—even though he was completely under sedation.
We went with him to recovery and snapped a quick picture with our new friend Dr. Paul. He thanked us for our help, and told us that if we had not brought him in that Jimy would have most certainly lost his right arm. We emotionally and wearily made our way back to the guesthouse.
We kept calling and checking in on the family for the next few days, and we finally got word that it was time for him to be discharged. We went back up to the hospital to visit him and pay the bill so that they could go home. As we walked around the corner of the pediatric wing, I saw his little face and he lit up like the Fourth of July. I will never forget the smile I saw on his face.
Jimy ran as fast as his little toddler legs could take him and he threw himself into my arms. That moment will forever be one of my most treasured memories. I choked back tears and kissed his little forehead. He showed me his bandaged arm and he showed me how he was finally able to bend it again. He found his makeshift balloon made from a latex glove and we played for a little while.
I went with his father to the front office, paid the bill (which was very, very inexpensive compared to U.S. medical costs), and went back to see Jimy before we left. I picked him up and held him one last time as I soaked in every second of the tremendous love that we shared after only a few days.
The Lord did something incredible here. He showed me how much I am like Jimy. God the Father found me in my sin. I was lost, dirty, and wounded. There was nothing that I could do for myself. I needed an operation to remove the dead things from my life, but there was no way I could pay for it.
Jesus picked me up and carried me to the Father. He dusted me off and held me tightly. He died on a cross and paid for my operation.
He made me clean.
He made me whole.
He made me new.
He made me His.
I will never forget Jimy. I will never forget the lessons that the Lord taught me through a human so small and fragile. So weak and helpless like me. But oh, so loved and valuable.
* * * *
Luke and Gabbie stopped for the one. They understood that Jesus gives us our assignments that way. They could have kept going through their day, but they saw Jimy.
When was the last time you stopped for the one? Why not ask God for an assignment and then try stopping today. You can make a difference.