There is a patient we have been treating that I want to share with you. But first, I want to drop a bit of a disclaimer. Life at a mission hospital is in many ways a lot like life at any other hospital. Occasionally you get inspiring stories you want to tell but most of the time it’s just “pick and shovel” work. Most of the patients come in with some complaint, we treat them and they get better. So I won’t tell you that every patient is an amazing snatch from the jaws of death but this one encouraged me.

I talked with “Joe” and he gave me permission to share about him. Since many of you are under the authority of HIPAA, however, I’ve withheld his patient identification information. He is an eighteen year old man who came to the hospital nearing death. He had painful swelling over both of his shoulders, right upper back, left upper chest, most of his left arm, his left hip and down into his left thigh. In addition to having a really high fever, his heart rate was high, his blood pressure was low and he was breathing too fast. He was in shock. It looked like he had a severe soft tissue infection. This can be deadly anywhere in the world, but in a developing country without all the big guns of modern medicine, it’s grim.

After giving him our available antibiotics, we took him to the operating room. Before starting the operation, we talked with him about his condition and about his beliefs in God. At one point, Daniel, one of the residents, started praying with him in Amharic. After he finished, Daniel looked up, smiled and said “Joe” has placed his faith in Jesus as his savior. We were thrilled but, with heavy hearts, we commenced with the operation.

Dr. Anderson, our orthopedic surgeon, was in the room as well and the three of us managed to drain multiple liters of pus from the various infections in his body. It was mostly in his muscles and, thankfully, did not spread along the tough covering of the muscles, the so-called fascia (this would have been even worse).

We got him back to our ICU and, over the next few days, he looked pretty bad. He was conscious, though, and we had several opportunities to talk to him about God, our relationship with Him, the problem of our sin and God’s forgiveness in Jesus. He was in pain, but he smiled during those conversations. Honestly, we didn’t think he would survive.

I can happily report that he has hung on and is looking better. I took his picture to share with you. We still have some work to do, but I’m thankful that God allowed him more time. Please continue to pray for God’s work in the lives of our patients and in their healing, both physical and spiritual.