Four words hold great significance for Christians during the Advent season and are celebrated by lighting a candle on the four Sundays leading up to Christmas.
These four words are powerful. These words can heal us when we are broken and guide us throughout our day. They are words to be pondered. They are words that encompass aspects of healing that we strive to give our patients at CURE hospitals every day.
At CURE hospitals, we see children that have coped with life-altering disabilities for years. Oftentimes, they have lost hope for healing, have been robbed of peace due to bullying, have struggled to find joy amid pain, and have been looking for love that has felt lost due to isolation and sometimes abandonment. It breaks our hearts to see these children in a state of depression and despair, and it is our delight to bring hope, peace, joy, and love back into their lives. This happens when we address not only their physical ailments but also their emotional and spiritual needs as well.
One child story that comes to mind when thinking about hope, peace, joy, and love is Slinthe. He is a young boy that was brought to CURE Kenya for treatment of neglected, bilateral clubfoot. What makes his story particularly unique is that he was picked up off the streets begging for money, did not speak a local language, and did not have any relatives or adults he was living with. His background was a mystery, and he was in desperate need of care.
Slinthe was just 6 years old when he was found. He was not only forced to beg on the streets, but he was also suffering from neglected, bilateral clubfoot. This condition happens when the foot turns inward and the patient begins to walk on their ankle. It causes pain when walking and even standing. Thankfully, Slinthe was taken to an orphanage, cleaned up, and referred to CURE Kenya for treatment.
Dr. Philemon Ogeto Nyambati, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon, treated Slinthe at CURE Kenya. He was given a posterior medial release, where tendons in the foot are released that make the foot turn inward. The foot is then put into a cast and then an ankle-foot orthosis that will stay in his shoe after the cast is off for about a year and a half. The surgery and healing process has been successful for Slinthe – and that success was more than just physical.
There’s just something about a child that you really can’t replace. It’s not about the money that you have, but it’s that smile that you actually see of a child who you have seen through a journey. And so being in CURE, it has been a journey of daily learning that there’s still more to be done, but with that little, if I can just reach to that one child and bring a smile to their face and just at least help a parent know that there’s still hope, that has been the greatest motivation for me. – Dr. Nyambati
Slinthe found a community of people that unconditionally cared for him. The orphanage supplied him with a guardian that lovingly attended all his hospital appointments and the staff at CURE Kenya came around him to offer hope for the future, peace in the waiting, joy in relationships, and by sharing the love of Jesus.
“So it makes one feel like Slinthe, I belong. I belong. Though he cannot express himself much to us, at least the non-verbals speak a lot and that prompts him to know, “Here is a place that I belong.” And he really encountered love.” – Pastor Phoebe Batha at CURE Kenya
What Slinthe loved most about his stay at CURE Kenya was the disability-friendly kid cars in the playroom. He longed to ride a bicycle and this was his goal after he completed treatment. Well, I am happy to say that Slinthe did meet his goal and rode a bicycle! Click on the video below to hear from Slinthe, his doctor, pastor, and watch him ride a bicycle for the first time.
According to Dr. Nyambati, there are about 180 children still waiting for treatment at CURE Kenya right now. As we are gearing up for the new year, please prayerfully consider a gift that will provide the resources to get a child off the waiting list and into life-transforming treatment for their disability. Let’s shorten the wait for these children and provide them with hope, peace, joy, and love.
“And so at CURE, the greatest aspect that I’ve actually found, it’s been, first, growing in Christ. And with that, spreading the message of love through service or surgery, through interaction with parent and child, because it’s the greatest thing I’d love to see.” – Philemon Ogeto Nyambati
About CURE International
CURE International is a Christian nonprofit organization that operates a global network of pediatric surgical hospitals, which serve one of the world’s most marginalized and vulnerable populations – children with disabilities. Patients at CURE hospitals suffer from orthopedic, neurosurgical, and maxillofacial conditions that limit their mobility/functionality and opportunities for education and employment. In addition to world-class clinical service, CURE intentionally ministers to the emotional and spiritual needs of patients in its care and invests in training programs that aim to equip the next generation of health workers and strengthen national health care systems. Since inception, CURE has conducted more than 5.3 million patient visits and 330,000 surgical procedures around the world. For more information, visit https://cure.org/.