(re-posted from March 2006)
There was a mini slumber party at my house last night, and God allowed me to see a glimpse of what he is doing in Swaziland. My good friend Jacci (from Northwestern College and Mexico, now living in South Africa) was spending the night as well as two Swazi friends, Cynthia and Busi.
Busi is 7 years old, and I first met her last year at the government hospital. She was there during my first visits to the hospital in the fall of ’04, and in and out after that. She was also in the hospital at the same time Ellie was last January. Busi had been severely burned in a cooking accident. Burns covered her arms and chest, and were most severe in her mid-section from her waist to half way down her thighs, and on her back. At some point her father took her from the hospital before her wounds had healed properly. Busi’s skin healed so that she could not straighten her arm, and could not stand up straight. A year later some of the wounds were still open. During one of Busi’s later hospital stays both of her parents died, so Busi was now left an orphan, and the hospital was her new home.
My co-worker Claud met Thandi last summer after he and his wife had just moved to Swaziland, and was determined to find help for this little girl. After many calls to Doctors in the U.S. and South Africa, and many meetings with the Social Welfare department here, it was decided that Busi would go to South Africa to see a surgeon who had agreed to do the operation she needed for free. Cynthia accompanied Busi to South Africa last month as her care-giver and translator for all the doctor visits, surgery, and recovery. When not at the hospital Busi and Cynthia stayed at the ministry center where Jacci is now working.
Just a couple weeks after the surgery, Busi is a different little girl from when I first met her. The way her and Ellie were laughing and playing last night you would have never known all she has been through. The skin grafting is healing well, her movement is much better, and will continue to improve with additional physical therapy, and another surgery in a few years.
So last night as books and balls were being thrown around my living room, “Veggie Tales” DVDs played on the TV, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were served it hit me that Busi and Ellie had both been in the hospital at the same time. They had both been seen as “hopeless” cases, but God had a plan. So many people around the world have prayed for these little girls, and so many people here have been involved in caring for them when they most needed it. All that has happened in both their lives in the last year is a testimony to God’s heart for the orphan and his amazing power to redeem and to restore hope.
It’s easy to be overwhelmed by statistics saying that in this small country of just over a million people there are already 80,000 orphans. But seeing little girls like Busi and Ellie, and how God has answered the prayers of His Church, is proof that God is working and that there is hope for this nation.