My job is to play and pray with patients. People find that often too good to be true, but it’s really what I do. In a more professional term, my job title is “Child Mentor,” Ella Abadesco
As a child mentor for three years, I have the privilege to meet hundreds of kids while crawling on the floor, sitting on the ground, and blowing bubbles. I sometimes even get schooled in the process while playing PlayStation, as the kids teach me how to use it. I have even pretended to be a dancing mascot just to make our kids happy! You name it, and I’ve probably done it!
Amidst all of the fluff of playing games with the kids, I make sure to consider the three p’s that are critical to child mentorship: Play, Presence, and Prayer.
One of the best things about child mentorship is meeting kids like Johan. I absolutely adore him! We first met in the playroom, during clinic, and became instant friends. Every clinic, I would get excited hearing his teeny tiny voice calling me, “Tita (big sister) Ella!” He pairs this with a hug and asks me to play with him or watch the movie “Land Before Time.” Even before he was scheduled for surgery, we became buddies!
Admission week came and my friendship with Johan became more than just a weekly acquaintance in the playroom. I got to spend more time with his mom, Love, and we got to know each other better. I’ve seen Johan’s physical struggles, but I didn’t know about his insecurities and frustrations.
These kids bring with them deep hurt and painful experiences. They are often called names and even abandoned because of their disability. Some are robbed of the opportunity to go to school and be with other kids. Johan and his mom were burdened with hopelessness and rejection. “Doctors told me that my son no longer had a chance to be treated,” said Love. But, when they were introduced to CURE, they experienced the hope that they always longed for.
Being present with one another counteracts the message of rejection and replaces it with one of acceptance. As I establish a connection with our patients, their walls begin to fall and they listen to me as I introduce Jesus to them.
Spending time with Johan gave me the opportunity to tell him that Jesus loves him and has wonderful plans for his life, including his healing. I told him that he is a child of God, who is seen as having many God-given abilities and not as one defined by a disability.
Out of all the three P’s of mentorship, prayer has played the biggest role in helping Johan get through the process of his treatment. It is through prayer that our patients and their parents surrender their thoughts and emotions to God. We make sure all our patients are covered in prayers at all stages of their healing process. One of the most touching moments I have witnessed was seeing Johan pray as he cried out in fear and pain during cast removal. “Lord God, have mercy on me. Help me! Heal me!” he shouted as tears fell down his cheeks. It is such a blessing and a privilege to pray with our patients and to see them learn how to pray by themselves!
After completing treatment, Johan went back home. He returned to his community as the same adorable and loving child, but with a pair of straight feet and newfound confidence. At CURE, patients are not seen as numbers. They are seen as individuals and treated as such.
Indeed, my job is too good to be true, and it’s even better now that I am an assistant storyteller. I not only get to play and pray with kids and patients, but I also get to share the story of what God has done in their lives. Truly, the kids and patients that I get to play and pray with, make my job a dream. It is our God who makes these life-changing physical and spiritual transformations possible!
To date, we have had over 3,000 admissions of kids who received physical treatment and experienced the love of Jesus because of your support! Thank you.