Our family has gotten involved with a ministry called Children's Heart Project sponsored by Samaritan's Purse. Children with heart defects born in countries where health care cannot provide the surgery they need are brought to North America so that they may receive the life-saving surgery. Anu, pictured below, is a precious and outgoing 16 month girl from Mongolia. She, her mom, and the translator are staying with a friend from my small group. Her surgery will be tomorrow.
We have had the joy of having her family over for dinner and spending some time together. What a sweet little girl she is!! Ziya, her translator, is a gift from God as she shares the love of Christ with Anu and her mom.
Last night, Ziya attended a concert at our church so Anu and her mom came over for dinner without her. I wondered how it would go not being able to talk with each other. No words are needed though when the children play together and love is shared through a meal and a walk to the park. What a beautiful picture of how God's love knows no boundaries.
Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:17-19
Anu enjoying some chocolate ice cream.
Anu playing with the Franklin crew
Another precious girl will be coming from Uganda to have heart surgery. Isabella is four and will be arriving with her mom and translator on Friday. Our family will pick her up from the airport and have the privilege of hosting her in our home for part of her time in Canada. Her is an excerpt from an article written about her by the medical transporter that will be traveling with her. She wrote it before we knew Isabella has obtained her visa. She is coming now!!
A girl in Uganda who desperately needs heart surgery is waiting to receive a visa so she can travel to the U.S. While the transporter is waiting, she reflects on God's timing.
by Cindy Uttley, RN, MSN, who is on staff with Children’s Heart Project at Samaritan’s Purse. She has made many trips to Uganda, but this is her first trip with Children’s Heart Project. She and her husband David, a photographer for Samaritan’s Purse, met more than 25 years ago while working in Haiti.
Children’s Heart Project—until the last several days, this was only a project to me, a much needed program. I thought of it as a worthy recipient of the approval of prospective donor hospitals, a valuable investment in the life of a deserving child who would otherwise die.
But now, Children’s Heart Project is a little girl. I am in Uganda, waiting for a visa for this little girl, Isabella. We have not yet met. But I know she is 4 years old and that although her heart defect is relatively simple to repair, such repair is not available here. I also know that the window of opportunity for its repair is about to close.
In Uganda, the Samaritan’s Purse staff of Children’s Heart Project is doing everything humanly possible to expedite Isabella’s visa. Yet a series of unexpected hurdles have thrown up obstacles to obtaining the visa. Now that I am here to transport her to the waiting North American hospital and cardiac surgeon who will perform her surgery, I have been surprised by some of the delays. I would not expect that the only way to talk to the visa agency is to go in person. There is no phone number or website for tracking. I would not expect the visa application of a little girl urgently awaiting open heart surgery to be randomly selected for audit by a United Nations agency and sent to Canada. And I would certainly not expect a hostage situation in Nairobi to delay its delivery by courier to our office in Kampala, Uganda. And what do I make of Isabella’s mom? Certainly her wait has been more laden with fear and pain than anyone else invested in this process.
Yet, none of this is a surprise to God. He wants to be glorified in the wait. We have done everything we can. He does not want us to fret or struggle. He wants us to trust Him. We pray. We wait. We pray some more. We trust. I trust that He loves this little girl more than we who work so diligently on her behalf. He loves her so much more than her momma and papa do.
And I trust Him not to be late.