We had a very emotional admission to our malnutrition program this week. This year we had two deaths in one family from malnutrition, Francine and Moise. After paying a home visit to this family, a 10year old hungry child was found. On the home visit, our nutritionist and community advocate learned the reasons the family is struggling: depression, lack of planted crops, an absent father, and a mother trying to get by by selling a local alcohol. You name the difficulty and this family has been through it. There is no food in the house and they do not know where their next meal is coming from. It is a sad story and one we hear too often.
We agreed that this family was in crisis. There was some doubt if the mother would come to the outpatient nutrition program with her child this week. She did not come, but the 10year old boy was found on the road walking to attend the program alone. He said his mother was sick and his father was not at home. He was desperately hungry. He gratefully accepted a meal, milk, and porridge. We all agreed to find a woman to care for the child overnight and to send a message home.
The following day on rounds the young boy’s mother arrived and we talked together. She was in full support of the boy’s admission and recognizes that they need help.
I ask myself what can we do to really help this family, trapped in poverty? We CAN provide a safe refuge where the family will receive food, hear the Gospel, and receive love from our staff. We CAN involve community organizations that support local farming efforts. We CAN talk with the local church leaders and chief of the village. We WILL do all of these things over time. We WILL pray for the family to be freed from this trap, of physical and spiritual poverty.
As we care for those in true need we are ministering to Jesus Himself. Whatever we do to the least of these we do onto Him. It is a holy calling to give physical and spiritual care. It is my prayer that the Lord is pleased with our daily work.
Looking back on this past year, we have admitted five women to the feeding program. The thing these women have in common is that they were new mothers. Many of them stopped lactating and their babies were failing to thrive as well. One young woman was diagnosed with gestational diabetes as the reason for her severe weight loss. Another had a re-activation of her tuberculosis with her 11th pregnancy. Most of these women beg for help to prevent future pregnancies. On average the new mothers gain >10kg over about 1-2months.
Pregnancy and motherhood are supposed to be joyous times in life, although it is often during these times that women struggle to stay healthy in Congo. I am proud to say that the hospital meets the needs of these women during a nutritional crisis.
I am often reminded as I care for patients in need that I am ministering to Christ. His identify is seen in their beautiful faces. These women are truly in need, cry openly, and are grateful for the help they receive. It is not just about providing for a physical need, although this is important. More completely, it is about loving people who need support. I feel honored to be part of these women’s lives.
Matthew 25:45 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
Proverbs 14:31 He who oppresses the poor taunts his Maker, But he who is gracious to the needy honors Him.
Proverbs 19:17 One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the LORD, And He will repay him for his good deed.
Matthew 10:42 And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is My disciple, truly I tell you, he will never lose his reward.”
Matthew 25:34 Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
Serving in Iraq
Thank you for many of you who are praying for Warren and the work of the trauma hospital in Iraq. The injuries are severe, no respecter of age or sex. Over 100 lives have been saved through the efforts of this hospital in the past week. The hospital was dedicated this past week in the presence of Iraqi officials, World Health Organization and the United Nations. Many organizations were asked to provide help in this conflict, many refused. Samaritan’s Purse answered the call, true to the parable of the Good Samaritan who stopped to help the wounded on the side of the road after others passed by. My husband’s skills acquired with trauma in residency in Chicago, and with many war-injured in Sudan are being used to provide oversight/wisdom/skills to the surgical team. I am proud of him and what he can offer.
For updates on the situation in Iraq, see the Samaritan’s Purse webpage:
- · https://www.samaritanspurse.org/article/updates-from-emergency-field-hospital-in-iraq/
And even a recent article in the Christian Post: http://www.christianpost.com/news/samaritans-purse-opens-new-hospital-6-miles-outside-isis-war-in-mosul-172913/
Keep praying for us, for quick resolve of the conflict in Iraq, for the field hospital, for the continued work here in Congo.
Many blessings and love,
Lindsey for the Coopers