This is why

Post a Comment » Written on March 30th, 2012     
Filed under: Disaster Relief
It has been more than six months since we began our partnership in East Africa, bringing relief to those affected by the terrifying drought and famine that is still raging. We continue to hear stories of the horrors in the Horn of Africa, and I sometimes find myself wondering, “Why are we working so hard there? It doesn’t seem like anything is getting better.” Then we receive updates like the following from our partner Medical Teams International, and I am reminded. This is why:

“We continue to bring medical care to nearly 4,000 displaced people along the Somali/Kenyan border. The following two reports demonstrate the impact that care is having on people who have been moved from their homes by war and famine.

The Regional Programs Director recently visited the frontlines of work that Covenant World Relief has helped support in East Africa:

Upon arrival to a town of 8,000 people, we stopped alongside a large tent. The team members began setting things up for clinic services while some of our staff went into town in order to let people know that we are open.

People began showing up at the clinic. Initially, it seemed like any other clinic I’ve seen in Uganda or Liberia. But I knew this clinic day would be different when I saw an elderly man leading a donkey pulling a cart.

On the cart was an elderly woman covered up in a blanket. One team member examined the woman and determined that she had Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, a life-threatening reaction to medications. The reaction was causing bleeding around the eyes and mouth with severe pain. The team member and our volunteer began running an IV right there on the cart.

It wasn’t 10 minutes later, a woman came to the clinic carrying her one-year-old baby boy. It was suspected that he had measles and pneumonia. One of our volunteers told me that the child won’t survive the next few hours unless we can get an IV into his arm with medications.

Fortunately, another medical team member worked in an ER at home and became a specialist in inserting IVs into children. With her special skill, the line went in and the child began to receive life-saving medication. We knew however that mother and child needed to be sent to the nearest hospital, which was over three hours away, and that we would be the ones to take them.

Shortly after this, a second child was brought in with the same symptoms, and then a third child. All received the same quality care; all are improving. The critical baby and mom rode with us to the hospital. We helped with admitting the child and informed the nurse at the hospital of our diagnosis and treatment. We also left some food for the mom because most hospitals in Africa do not provide a meal service for patients or family.

The team visited mom and baby each day and brought food for the mom. The baby is improving and will survive. I was told that two of the children and the elderly woman in the cart would have died if we had not intervened. One team member also also told me an amazing encounter he had while caring for the woman on the cart. He said that the woman’s sister came up to him and asked, “Who do you worship?”

The team member replied, “I worship God.”
Woman: “Are you a Christian?”
Team member: “Yes, I am a Christian.”
Woman: “You know, in the Muslim faith, we call each other ‘brother’ or ‘sister’ but they have not helped us like you Christians have helped my sister on this cart. This makes me wonder why am I a Muslim?”

Our team is demonstrating the love of Christ to these Somali refugees and the refugees are taking notice. So today we saved three lives. It was hot and dusty. I bounced around in the back of the vehicle for over three hours; I’ve been wearing the same clothes for three days and feel very dirty. But we saved three lives today. Awesome!”

We are also partnering with the Evangelical Covenant Church of Kenya (ECCK) doing relief work in the eastern province of Kenya in the Isiolo community. Much of their work has consisted of providing safe shelter for those who are homeless and/or affected by the fighting that has resulted from the lack of food and water. They are also doing large amounts of food distribution.

ECCK is also hoping to start a church in the Isiolo community for those affected by this disaster. They are currently in the planning stages.

Praise God that even when it seems like there is no hope, we are reminded that lives are being saved. Even more, people are being shown the love of God when they so desperately need it. Please consider supporting our relief efforts in the Horn of Africa by clicking here.

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