Updated: Nov 25, 2019
Walking through the dirty, long halls, my face had to remain calm as I held back the expression of shock for what my eyes beheld. “Certainly this is not a hospital!,” I thought to myself. The floors and hallways bore the soiled smell and filthy dirt of neglect for what looked like years past. We soon breached the doorway of a much larger scale of astonishment. A large warehouse room filled with over 500 twin size metal beds. All of which was chipping from the paint that was once used to cover its mature age. Old brown plastic coverings with a thin mattress laid beneath the women and newborn babies. No sheet, no pillow, no bassinet for the baby. There had to be one other family member there with you to ensure that the woman next to you didn’t roll over onto your new bundle of joy.
I was so thankful it was raining and the weather was cooler than usual. There was no source of air conditioning in this building except the small fan located at the center of a few large windows around the room.
I soon realized that the bed frame and mattress were the only thing provided at this hospital. Family members had to leave the hospital to bring pillows, sheets, and food. If the patient was in need of medication, or even blood, the family member had to leave and purchase these items from another place and bring them to the hospital, including the needles and instruments needed to perform the care.
As I looked at these ladies, some with newborns at their side and others with none. Some with family members comforting them and others alone. I considered the scenery that laid before me. In a time that should be beautiful, joyous, and momentous, not one face had a smile.
Then I saw her. She was lying on her stomach and the only cushion under her small 1-year-old body was cardboard and there were no side rails on the bed to prevent her from rolling into the floor. A recycled piece of wood was strapped to one arm to hold the IV in her arm and with the other hand, she held a piece of bread.
As I approached her with caution (as some babies cry at the sight of a white woman, because they’ve never seen a white person before), I could see the bread crumbs around her mouth. No mother or family member was present. She was lying there alone.
I held out my hands as if to suggest that I pick her up and for as much as a 1-year-old can agree, she looked okay with the idea. As I picked her up, I noticed that the IV in her arm was not providing her with the nourishment expected on the opposite end of the tube. Instead it was filled with blood. I sat her on my lap and began to pray for her. One of the mother’s in the room said, “She never acts that way. She is usually growling at people when they approach her and she won’t let them pick her up. I can’t believe she is allowing you to hold her?”
Ten minutes passed and I surely didn’t want to leave her, especially since she was in the hospital alone, but we needed to go. I gently picked her up and set her on the cardboard. I said, “I’m going to leave now.” Immediately, her peaceful face turned to sadness and the beginning of a cry swelling. I kissed her on her forehead and she held out the piece of bread in her hand as a gift. With tears in my eyes and my heart melting, I held out my hand and watched as she placed the only source of nourishment in my hand. I thanked her for the gift but assured her that she should eat it. It was like she understood every word I was speaking to her. I stretched out my hand to return the piece of bread, she reached up and took it.
I may never be able to confirm if this child received the healing I prayed for her body that day, but one thing I am assured of is this…. She experienced the Love of Jesus.
We can walk away knowing that the Love of Jesus that lives in us has impacted someone’s life.
Many times we miss opportunities to minister to people due to fear and intimidation. I have missed so many in my life and even now miss them. If we remember that when we step out and act in faith and nothing happens in that moment….. We can walk away knowing that the Love of Jesus that lives in us has impacted someone’s life.
“Thank you, God, that you LOVED me so much that you gave your only Son, Jesus, to die for me. Help me to show that same LOVE to others every day. Freely I received, Freely I want to give….”