Good morning! We have a cold, windy day here in west Michigan. In the quiet of the dark morning, I could hear the waves crashing along the shores of Lake Michigan. I was thankful for a beautiful quilt, a cup of coffee, and a warm house to enjoy.
The year 2016 is rapidly closing its time as 2017 awaits in the wings. Time does indeed appear to pass faster as I age. I always thought that was a myth my parents shared with me. Looking back over the year allows us time to realize all that was fit into the brief time.
Medical issues were the theme of 2016 for myself and my family. Cancer reared its fearsome head attacking my sister and sister-in-law. Jana’s mom needed shots into her eye. My daughter has ongoing medical issues requiring trips to Mayo Clinic. I lay on the table instead of working beside it. My new hip makes me a step closer to a bionic man. My cousin has complications following his journey into artificial joints. Add on friends with various, dangerous medical issues, and you realize just how fragile life is.
On the other side, I was thrilled to meet many children and their families from Mindanao Island in the Philippines. Children came with a wide variety of needs to the CURE Hospital located in Davao City. I loved to watch transformations take place. Fearful, sometimes angry, children morph into jumping, laughing kids. Function improves. Children proudly present drawings they create. Stories about attending school bring smiles to parents and kids alike. I am called to the physical therapy area to witness how well a child can walk where they could only stumble along before. We all join in a well-deserved ovation for the child! Of course! Dum Dum suckers make the event even more special.
2016 was a year that used CURE International to reach out in love and caring to many across the globe. The physically disabled, both children and adults, are marginalized in most societies. Where resources are severely limited, difficult decisions must be made by those in leadership. Into which programs do we invest time and capital to most help our people? Many groups are vocally calling out for attention. Unfortunately, the voice of the disabled is usually quiet and never makes its needs heard to those in power. Add on a “me first” greed attitude of too many in power bleeding off needed funds, and the situation worsens. Without organizations like CURE International stepping forward, many more will suffer.
But as the saying is shared, “Disability is not inability.” All people are special in their own way. All people have worth. All people are loved by God. CURE International was founded to reach out in caring to maximize the ability of disabled children. CURE extends a caring hand in emotional and physical care for those in need. We bolster up downtrodden spirits. We give hugs and support to those feeling unloved. We straighten and release bound up extremities. All disabled children in need are welcome to come to CURE International hospitals.
If CURE stopped its work, CURE would be no different than other medical organizations. We would be performing good deeds, but not offering help to complete the needs of the children. I truly believe all people have emotional, spiritual, and physical needs. All three must come into balance for holistic care. When one aspect is out of step or deficient, the whole suffers. At CURE, we first address the physical and emotional, and then within the care, we offer the opportunity to hear the truth of Jesus. As many have pointed out: grace first and then truth.
Today, I added a special smile for the year 2016. A young man, Dr. Jason Fader, serving as a missionary surgeon in Burundi, Africa was named to receive the Gerson L’Chaim award. Hoorah for Jason!! I know Jason’s parents, long-term missionaries: Dr. Tim and Patty Fader. Jason attended the Rift Valley Academy in Kijabe, Kenya with my children. You can read about this special honor at www.amhf.us/lchaim. L’Chaim means “to life,” and this large financial grant will literally save many lives in Burundi. Burundi is yet another very poor African country.
I love to see others I know reaching out in their calling to help others in need of their gifts. Most serve in humble anonymity; sometimes the light shines brightly. They all have one thing in common. We all serve in His grip.
Happy New Year!!