Good morning from the Philippines! I awoke early—a perfect time for a walk. The sky was inky black covered with stars shining brightly. As I started through the neighborhood, enjoying the cool air, the Southern Cross lead the way. Wandering along, the stars started to fade as the gray of dawn began to encroach. Soon. the bright sun started its ascent. The walk went from one of quiet, with the rare rooster crowing, to groups of people and cars starting their day. Cars were being washed. Fallen leaves swept up. Another day.
This day is a special one for me. I found out that I am a grandpa again! Van Aaron Mead was born to Aaron and Rachel. Jana traveled to Illinois to help care for their other child, Hailey. Mom and child are doing well. We give God thanks!
Friday was a busy day as we ran a mobile medical-spiritual outreach clinic. CURE partner Seeds of Dignity and local government would join us. Heading toward Sasa Port, we left Davao at 6 a.m. We passed the city of Tagum and proceeded to the provincial capital. This was CURE’s first visit to Sasa Port. You never know who may show up. Well, families who had children with physical disabilities showed up in numbers!
The day started with an introduction, prayers, and then Dr. Nesti Panopio, a CURE orthopedic surgeon, greeted all the families and shared a little about CURE. During the clinic, wait videos were shown. CURE team members and volunteers visited and counseled families.
The Tebow CURE team had organized the event well. Josiah was in-charge starting from the very first exploratory visit until the clinic day arrived. Thank you, Josiah, for all your work. The clinic consisted of nursing, physical therapy, casting for clubfeet, scheduling, registration, spiritual team ministry, and numerous volunteers. Dr. Nesti and I could basically just show up. What a deal!
We started clinic. The more children we saw, the more seemed to arrive. Children came with all sorts of issues. Kids with cerebral palsy were evaluated and most started on programs of exercise and stretching. Kids with clubfeet were casted. Many kids had fallen out of trees years ago and were left with very crooked arms or legs. Surgery would improve these problems. Joined fingers, thick skin bands, crooked legs, burn contractures of joints, and more created a variety of cases to be scheduled.
We took a brief lunch break and pushed on to the end. The final number of children seen was over 160! That means we were able to encounter more than double that number as kids do not come alone. I saw many smiles, received hugs, and scared my share of kids as well. Old white guys, especially doctors, are indeed scary things of legends.
Mobile clinics bring CURE team members out into the communities in which we serve. Many people would or could not come to Davao for an evaluation. Many of the most needy children tend to be the farthest away from CURE hospitals. Mobile clinics help seek those in need of CURE’s spiritual-medical expertise.
Once we encounter a child in need of surgical care, we are not done. There is still the transportation issue to resolve. Local partners are a major help for all CURE hospitals. Creating a mobile clinic, organizing the event, finding children in need, scheduling surgery, and getting the kids to Tebow CURE is a huge, expensive undertaking. But, the kids are worth it!
Last week in clinic, I received a huge gift. Last year, if you recall, we treated a young girl named Princess at the Tebow CURE Hospital. Princess had terrible burns to both her lower extremities. Her knees could not straighten and her feet were pulled up and out by scar. Princess could not walk upright, but scooted on her knees.
Princess had major surgery with releases of joints, skin flaps created, skin grafts, and casts. Princess was slow in healing her skin graft donor sites, but all else seemed to progressively heal and is now maturing. Princess was in some splints to avoid joint contracture recurring following the graft. This is common until the graft is fully matured months down the road. On Thursday, I witnessed Princess walking! Wow! I could not stop smiling! God allowed a major transformation in this little girl’s life. The grafts still look a bright pink and need time to mature. I removed all the splints and asked our physical therapists to work with Princess. Unencumbered by her splints, she walked even better—a two-Dum Dum sucker day for her!
A new grandson, a miraculous healing, a beautiful night sky, and an awesome mobile clinic: what a week! I do indeed serve an amazing God. I give Him thanks and praise as I serve in His grip.