Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Part of traveling to a third world country is seeing hard things. It's not uncommon in Tanzania to see adults crippled by polio, children with bloated tummies due to worms, or babies suffering from malaria.

This trip was no exception.

At the end of one of my malaria education classes in Zanzibar, a Masai mother came to me with her baby. She lifted the shirt on her son, Elijah, who looked to be only two or three months old. I immediately saw that he was laboring to breath and his chest was retracting (chest muscles pulling in with respiration- a sign of breathing difficulties and respiratory distress).

I took the mother and baby to see the clinic director, Carol, whom we were working with- thinking that we would send this mother and baby to the hospital for respiratory treatment. Carol got Pastor Paul to translate for us and he asked the mother what was wrong with her baby. She told us that her tiny baby is actually a year old and that he had been born with a heart defect. The doctors at the hospital have told her that there is nothing that they could do for Elijah. He is simply going to die.

Carol then informed me that I was going to pray for this baby's healing. We gathered two of the African pastors that were working with us and a couple of Americans from our team and we prayed for baby Elijah's healing.

Then I returned to teach my next class.

Walking away from this baby was the hardest thing I've ever done. My American sensibilities were screaming to take him to a cardiologist, to get him surgery, to do whatever was necessary to save him. All things that are not possible on a small island in a third world country. An island where there is no cardiologist, no neo-natal intensive care unit, no open heart surgery...

Only prayer.

I believe in prayer. I believe that God heals. I know that He heals people in third world countries with frequency and power that we don't usually see in the USA- where we have access to specialists and life saving medical procedures. But I'm still struggling with it all. I want to pray and seek medical intervention- because that's what we would do in America.

But he isn't in America. He is in Africa.

So I continue to pray for baby Elijah, knowing that God holds this precious child in His hands. And I continue to struggle with my feelings of powerlessness and my lack of faith.

And yet I pray.


Llama Momma said...

Okay. Now that's hard.

Now you've got me praying for Elijah too...

PG said...

Thanks Frazz. That heart is why you're such a wonderful Mission's Leader! We'll join in prayer and know that God loves Elijah as much as any of us.

Anonymous said...

LeeAnn you are awesome! Thank you for sharing your heart and your experince I too am praying for this little guy! We serve a mighty God!