Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Ministries Working Together to Change Lives

We have been very blessed to partner together with different ministries and organizations while here in Burkina Faso. One of our partners, "Friends in Action", recently helped us change the future of a handicapped women.

Salimata had an accident when she was young and broke her arm in several places. The only thing the doctors had the ability to do was to remove the bones in her arm. This left Salimata with no use of her arm. Despite this difficulty, she grew up and married, had five children and worked as best as she could cultivating crops.

Salimata lost her husband three years ago. This significantly changed her situation and that of her children. To help keep her children in school, Salimata started to raise chickens. Unfortunately, many of her chickens became ill and died leaving her little money for school fees. She had to borrow from family and the local pastor.

When we heard about Salimata we sat with our local Pastor and discussed what would be the best way to help. He suggested that raising goats would be something that she could do physically and would help her earn the income she needed to care for her children and pay back her debts.

Our buddies at "Friends in Action" drill all the wells that you see us post pictures and talk about. Their ministry gives life saving, clean, healthy water to villages throughout Burkina Faso and into the Ivory Coast. Each year they drill about 40 wells. Often they receive gifts of goats from villages and they keep them in their work yard, not really knowing what to do with them. Recently they gave us some goats to give to people in need.

Immediately we thought of Salimata. God's timing is so good! The guys at "Friends in Action" had no idea we were just discussing Salimata's case, but God did. Today, we went with Salimata's pastor to deliver her one male goat and one female goat. As a bonus, we believe the female is already pregnant. Glory to God!

The gift Salimata received will help her to help herself and her family. She will no longer need to ask for loans and she can be assured that her children will be able to complete their education.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Different Future for this Young Lady

We met Natalie this summer when she came to our clinic at the orphanage. When she was a small girl she was washing clothes in dirty, stagnant water. She contracted a disease that would slowly change her life. It was so small at the time that her family didn't seek any medical help. Like any other scrape or cut, they expected it would go away on its own.

Year after year, the muscle and flesh in Natalie's arm and buttocks was being eaten away by toxins. By the time she came to us it had done so much damage, we feared for her life.

We took Natalie to visit a few different doctors, but nobody was able to make a diagnosis. We consulted with American doctor friends that we know and it was suggested that this looked like a Buruli Ulcer. This is a slow necrotizing disease common in West Africa, but it was the first time that the doctors in our region had seen it. Finally, a doctor in the capital confirmed what it was, but we were having difficulty getting treatment for her.

Because she would likely need surgery and months of antibiotics, we asked Natalie's family if she could stay at the orphanage. Since she would be living here, we had our seamstress start training her how to sew. Even with limited use of her arm she has become very good with the sewing machine, making handbags and dresses. We have been constantly amazed at the perseverance that Natalie displays. She does not allow her disability to stop her from doing anything. She is often found doing the other girls in the orphanage's hair and helps our cook cut vegetables in the kitchen.

Today is the day that Natalie has surgery. She will have dead tissue removed and a plastic surgeon will reconstruct as much as possible. After this, Natalie will begin recovery and a treatment plan to be sure no additional toxins are lingering in her system, ready to do more damage.

Natalie's future is changing. She is beating her illness. She has learned a new skill. When it is time for Natalie to leave, she will have what is necessary to succeed.

Please pray for Natalie today!