Ishmael & Rahim: Healing their clubfoot gives a family hope
The family: Rahim, 8, stepmom Ethel with baby Mussa on her back, Patricia, 9, dad Levison, and Ishmael, 10.
“When Ishmael and Rahim were babies and we took them to the hospital, my [first] wife objected because she thought they would amputate their feet. So, she refused to take the children to the hospital for fear of losing their feet. She’d rather have children with deformed feet. Because we couldn’t agree, we left the children ’til this age. Otherwise, they would have been treated as babies.”
Part of CURE Malawi’s Spiritual Ministry is to do follow-up home visits to see how children and their parents are doing after they received treatment at CURE. The visits also encourage them in their faith if they have decided to follow Christ. Levision brought his two sons, Ishmael, 10, and Rahim, 8, to CURE for neglected clubfoot. His sons are nearing the end of their journey. So, we decided to visit them and their family to see how their lives have changed.
“When they were older, at the school they go to, there was a man who explained to us that this deformity can be corrected, despite the fact they are older. He called me and explained everything that would happen to correct this deformity. I was so excited because my desire was to see my children grow up being able to walk on their own without support,” said Levision.
“When we went to the hospital, they welcomed us. While my children were being treated at CURE, I heard the gospel. I listened to it and finally made the decision to follow Christ as my Lord and Savior in the hospital. What touched me was to see my children were being treated. I never thought that one day these feet would look like this. That in and of itself was an expression of God’s love and that touched me. Seeing what physically is being done for my children, I felt it is the right thing to commit my life to the Lord.”
The boys’ stepmother, Ethel, says, “Before the boys went to CURE, life was not easy because they needed someone to carry them from point A to point B. But now, I’m happy that they went to the hospital and they are going to be able to walk on their own without somebody’s help. I pray that they continue doing this for other children. We are seeing change in this family and we hope that it happens to other families, also.”
“Before I left the village, a lot of people were speaking ill about my children, but upon my return, most of them, almost all of them, are curious becuase what they expected is not what they are seeing today. When I was living in the village, I thought it was just my children and I who dealt with disability. But when I went to Beit CURE, I realized there’s more children with these conditions. So, that opened my eyes to say, ‘it’s no only me.’ There’s also other children facing this same problem.”
The family’s life hasn’t only been changed spiritually, but the boys’ healing has also changed the perspective of their community to disability. Spiritual Director Jimmy Chimphinda explains:
“Normally, disabilities in Malawi are associated with shame. People think, ‘Why me? Are we cursed?’ There’s a lot of those questions and rejection from society. Few children want to play with children who are deformed. You become a laughingstock and are called names. So, coming back with straight feet is changing the mindset in this community. That this disability can be corrected and that they can become just like any other person. Here people say, ‘We can live with disability.’ So, people just accept that their child is disabled and assume there is nothing you can do.”
Levison’s brother, one of the leaders in the village, also spoke to us.
“On behalf of the community, we are so thankful for what you have done coming here, and we thank you for treating these children that have come from our village. We are so grateful and we hope that you are not only treating these children, but also other children from other villages. I also thank our Chief for allowing these people to come to visit our community, to take this message to other children with conditions like these ones. It’s an opportunity for them to sensitize more that these people are helping, that they are healing for free. Whoever the funds are coming from, we thank them because these children needed to be helped and we hope that you continue raising resources for needs like these.”
Ishmael and Rahim say, “We are happy that after this treatment, we will be able to go by ourselves and we can run just like any other child and do whatever any other child can do.”
“I’m so thankful because I’m able to see the difference before the treatment to what are now. I’m very happy and so thankful. It becomes tricky when you go to the hospital and come back with the same problem and there’s no change, but in this case, there is something you can point at, a radical change. So I’m happy and so thankful.”
“The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God…. The time has come. The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” Mark 1:1, 15
Please join us in prayer for Levison and his family. We’re so glad that Levison came to accept Jesus Christ as his Savior through this process, and that he has been studying the Bible we gave him. He is the only Christian in his village and will find it difficult to get support and guidance. Pray that God continues to transform him, his sons, his family, and his community.