God allows connections to happen everywhere, and if you have a heart to serve others, God will make those connections happen. In Pennsylvania, God connected a retirement community, called Garden Spot Village, with CURE. For the past several years, staff and residents from Garden Spot have visited CURE hospitals on their “Travel with Purpose” trips, and this year, they came to Kenya!
When the group from Garden Spot Village came to Kenya, they brought cars, teddies, and coloring supplies and completely spoiled our kiddos throughout the week. (Kids doted upon included those in the ward, those who came for ortho clinic, and kids they visited during home visits!) They administered fun activities like parachute ball-bouncing and craft-making and spent lots of time engaging in quality playtime. In the ward, they shared Bible stories and songs and even gave out wooden hearts made by a sweet gentleman from Garden Spot Village. The hearts were made out of two pieces, connected by a string, and they served as a great tool to illustrate how God fixes our broken hearts.
One of our visitors, a woman named Glenna, shared her artistic talent with us! Toward the end of the week, we sat down with four lovely members of the team, Glenna included, to chat about their time at CURE Kenya.
Amy works for Garden Spot and has such a way with kids. While in Kenya, she would hold them and play with them any chance she got. “I just think the ministry here is so impactful,” she told us. “You just can’t help but be touched seeing that God is everywhere.”
Marian is the associate chaplain at Garden Spot and had opportunities to share God’s love and joy with people throughout the week. “I like the focus of spiritual healing,” she shared. “To me, it’s paramount to physical healing. It’s an unusual partnership.”
Marion is a resident at Garden Spot, but since there was also Marian the chaplain, Marion went by her sweet grandma name: Mamie. One of her favorite things about CURE is: “the loving, caring community that has been so welcoming to us. The Holy Spirit … unites us (as a family). It’s special.”
Glenna played a special part in the group. Although she wasn’t from Garden Spot, she’d once spent time at another CURE hospital, so she’s no stranger to our organization. Glenna got to tag along with Garden Spot, and new friendships were formed! She spent a lot of her time in our new outpatient complex, painting a fabulous mural on our walls! Even with the amount of time she spent painting, she noticed the sense of family that’s shared here: “When they come in here … they get this family bond. I’ve met so many kids who don’t want to go home.”
Each of these ladies also experienced unique things while at CURE Kenya. For Amy, it was going on the home visit to the house of a little boy named Ian who had clubfoot surgery at CURE: “I felt such a spiritual energy with all of us praying together. They didn’t have as much, but they have all they needed. I just felt that they were so positive and saw the good in everything.”
Marian was struck when she watched the surgery of a boy named Meshack. She shared with Meshack’s mother an encouraging experience from her childhood. When she was young, Marian had surgery to repair her cleft palate, and she still remembers the first time she said the letter ‘T’ after her surgery. Marian and Meshack’s mom had a precious moment together, and then Marian went outside and sang “Jesus Loves Me.” Marian’s story helped a worried mom’s heart as she waited for her son to leave the hospital!
When Mamie was little, she had her appendix removed, and since her parents couldn’t stay with her in the hospital, they gave her Lammie, a stuffed animal to keep her company during her stay. Mamie brought Lammie with her and even shared the story of her hospital stay with the patients in the ward.
Mamie told us this story: “My special moment came today. When I knew I was coming to Kenya with the team, I thought it would be a good thing to bring my stuffed animal, a little lamb. I decided Lammie would be a good prop to come along and introduce to the children. So I brought Lammie and tied it into the skit on Tuesday about Jesus calming the storm, and then I used Lammie to (share the Gospel). I purposed to give Lammie away, but I didn’t know which patient.”
Mamie had walked through the ward, praying: “Lord, please show me which child to give Lammie to.” One of the patients was named Francis. When she learned that his mom was named Agnes, she remembered that Agnes means “lamb” in Latin. It was a beautiful answer to prayer. Francis is now the proud owner of Lammie.
Glenna got to experience the kiddos in a unique way while she painted the mural. Because of her location in the OPD, she would see them waiting and going to and from from the casting rooms. She told us: “I pray when I paint, and I try to pray that God will bless the people walking by.”
Having your cast removed can be a scary, tear-invoking experience. Glenna noticed this and told us about it: “They’re screaming and I’m praying for them. I said to myself: ‘I need to get some toys for these kids for when they come out.’ I had a lot of interactions with adults and children. I had audiences. The kids—they’ll talk to you. I had them ‘painting’ the floor!”
Glenna also painted beautiful pictures on casts, along with painting a large mural and giving stuffed animals away to patients.
These ladies witnessed God at work during their week stay. And clearly, God worked through them. We know they took back photos and stories that will impact others, too! We’re grateful for the time they gave to us and our kiddos, and we trust that God will use the time they spent at CURE all for His glory!
Some more pictures from the Garden Spot Village visit: