Friday, 20 April 2012


There is a beauty to be found here amidst the ashes
As life's candle melts away and the brittle wick grows long.
There is beauty in the life that's set ablaze
With the love of a Saviour as it's dying song.

There is peace now that pain will be no longer
As she slips to silent depths of sleep
Sleep that will bring her to her Saviour
Cradled evermore in love so deep.

Love so deep He kept pursuing
Love so deep, He held her hand
Brought her home into His glory
Where she now can raise her hands.

I really haven't told many patient stories on the blog yet this year... I keep meaning to... but I love to know how things will end.  Sadly, one end has come already, in a way that we were not expecting until a few weeks ago when we began to realize we had lost the fight.

Chantal came to us with open wounds.  A few years ago, she had severe burns that had contractured, pulling her arm to her side and her chin down.  They had released it with grafts and she healed up beautifully.  Then a year or more ago, something happened... a scratch, a wound, something.  And an infection took over, slowly ate away all of that new skin.  And wouldn't go away.  And so she arrived on screening day, and we knew we had to try and help.

It started with healing the infection, looking for a cause.  Sadly, the most publicized killer in Africa, HIV, was wrecking havoc with her system.  We knew healing wouldn't be easy, but decided to try anyways.  So antibotics, dressing changes, and finally, new grafts were done to help form new skin.  So much pain, so many hard days.  And slowly we grew to love her. 

The stream of visitors meant there wasn't a day without at least 5 to 10 people coming around just to spend time with her, encourage her.  Cards and decorations on the ceiling that she could look up at, taped to the side table, and added to her chart.  Positive reinforcement for everything from managing to finish her meals to getting up and walking. 

One of the first times she got up and walked to the bathroom by herself, the other patients noticed and they all cheered and clapped.  THE WHOLE WARD CLAPPED!!  LOVE IT!  There is something to be said about community!!! 

There were a lot of ups and downs in the last 3 months, lots of bedmoves, lots of medications, a couple surgeries, lots of physiotherapy (painful, but very important).  One day, about a month ago, she accepted Christ.  And the change in her was so sweet.  She became happier, smiling more, singing randomly.   The light in her eyes was so go to see after so much dispair.

And we continued to hope for her.  But God had his plans before we had ours.   God wanted her for himself, wooed her, pursued her, and finally, has taken her home.   We all saw it coming in the last week.  There was no denying the change, and the fact that our one step forward, two steps back in health wasn't going to get us to the finish line we were originally expecting.  And so there were many talks, and peace was made with the next step. 

Every effort was made for comfort, from pain meds to taking her out on deck for fresh air.  Family came in to visit.  Plans were made to send her home.  Before that happened, she deteriorated and died.

It sounds so harsh, but it's true.  She died on the ship.  It's not something that's supposed to happen.  And yet it is.  Why shouldn't we allow someone to die with dignity, with love, without pain.  Why shouldn't we make the exception so someone can be at peace.  It may be a surgical ship.  Specializing in care that makes people look more normal, makes them able to be accepted again.  But we're also here to love on people.  To show the incredible love that we have been shown by a Saviour who wants to reach the lost and the broken... like us. 

Some may argue we never should have tried.  But we didn't just try.  We succeeded.  We saw a life changed.   I just pray her family will find peace.  That her family would understand what happened here, how her life changed.  That there would be no bitterness.  I pray for her little girl, 4years old, that she would know love and acceptance, that she will have a future, that someday she would have a God encounter to bring her to a saving knowledge of God.  And I am thankful that God holds all the details and answers, and I don't need to know them.

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