The bandage on her left calf looked as if the doctor had wrapped a baseball on her leg. Pastor Gideon had called us last night asking if we could arrange a visit to a "private doctor" for this little two-year-old. We arrived at the pediatric ward in our government hospital during the mid-day visiting hours to see how we might be of help to the family of this little toddler who had just recently arrived from the village of Inapoas on the island of Tanna. We had never met them before today, but they are related in various ways to some of the Nazarenes here in Port Vila, including Pastor Gideon. We began last night praying for God's healing touch upon this precious little life, and asking for wisdom to know how to help.
Even though it has been more than ten years since I was practicing as a registered nurse, my heart still feels drawn to these opportunities whenever they come available. David and I spent some time visiting with the family for a while to hear their thoughts and gather what we could of what was going on. The doctor was recommending amputation of the leg and the family was wondering why he couldn't just remove the baseball-sized mass that had begun growing last July. Before coming to Port Vila, they had already tried "kastom medicine" but the mass only seemed to grow faster. The mysterious thing to them is that the little girl is not in any pain, has no other signs of feeling sick, and is eating and drinking well.
The nurse on the ward was helpful in arranging for the doctor to meet with the father and his brother while we could go along with them. The doctor clearly and compassionately talked with us about the tumour (sarcoma) that was growing in Kaium's leg. Chemotherapy and radiation are not available at our government hospital which excludes the possibility of saving the leg. His main focus is to save her life. As we walked back toward the ward, the uncle asked if we had medicine that could help. My mind instantly thought of Kudjip Nazarene Hospital and the patients who were receiving chemotherapy for various cancer diagnoses because of the generous donations from loving people around the world...and I wished we could be there.
We returned to the ward and discussed with the family a little more, making clear the available options. I was so blessed by Helen's contribution to the discussion when she shared beautifully in Bislama that God can heal through surgery too. (Helen attends the Prima Nazarene Church and is also related to Kaium.) We agreed with her and talked about God's power to heal and that we can trust him. Then we gathered around as I gently laid my hand on Kaium's head and asked our all-powerful God to restore her health and prayed for her family to have God's wisdom to know what to do. Would you please join us in praying for Kaium and her family? They will be making the decision regarding the amputation of her leg in the next day or so. Pray for them also that they will come to faith in God through the loving witness of Pastor Gideon, Aleck, and Helen.
Kaium's uncle, Aleck, walked with us to the parking lot. We had met him four years ago when we took a Youth in Mission team to Tanna. We visited his village of Inapoas and stayed in his home. He and his wife had come to Port Vila with the hopes that he would be able to travel as a migrant worker to Australia or New Zealand, but it hasn't worked out. He shared with us as we walked that he will be returning to Inapoas soon to build a shelter where people can gather to hear about Jesus. He and his wife will be the leaders. Today, we are thankful for his faith in God and that he is here in Vila to help his family through this difficult time, but will return to Inapoas where he can continue to be a support and encouragement.