Sunday, May 31, 2009

A birthday thank you from Irene

As I write this, it is pouring rain, the beginning of the planting season here and everything is turning green. We are welcoming the daily rains and the short respites from the hot sun.

Maybe you already know, but there is a great cloud of saints and angels who love this little missionary “out of Africa” into Southeast Asia and remembered her birthday this week. Throughout all this month, my mailbox has had fresh surprises for me every day and when I open my emails there is another surprise. I have felt so loved and special to have so many friends, especially all of you UMW members.

I do have for you a special story.

This week on Thursday my telephone rang. It was a 15-year old with Thalacaemia, a disease where the body makes abnormal red blood cells. Periodically, therefore, he must come to Phnom Penh to receive blood transfusions of healthy red blood cells from Angkro Sang Methodist Church in Takeo. He needed help.

He told me, “We have no food. I cannot go to school.” Sometimes, when the food runs out, parents keep children at home to help find food. Normally hiss mother,a widow who owns no land herself, works on other people’s land for food.

I was thinking, “How can I help?” Usually, I help this family with transportation-to-hospital money, but this time they are asking for food relief. Then I had a sudden idea. In February when he came to Phnom Penh in crisis, he was transfused and we sent the family home with $50 for food because he was so undernourished. So, now was he needing another transfusion?

I asked, “How are you feeling?”

“I’m not well.”

“Ok, you come to Phnom Penh on Monday and I will give you some food money, but can you go to the hospital and get checked first?”

Can you see what was happening? The family had used up all the food money we had given them in February and now (May) it was gone. But now the 15-year-old is unwell again. Because he was calling me, I was able to inquire and discover his need for medical attention.

I am so happy because our new Medical and Welfare Relief Advance is bringing the resources to help people like this 15-year-old. Slowly, with our help, he is learning to manage his illness and to use the hospital services. The church has set up a safety net to assist his family. It is health development in its finest hour.

It makes me happy to share this story with you, both because you can see how important your prayers are, but also how significant simple money support can be in making a difference for a family and their sick child.

Love, Peace and Joy,

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