July was spent in Cotui, Dominican Republic where I worked with three teams from eight churches for four weeks. We worked at The Tia Milagros Learning Center, a VisionTrust program. Together we worked to evangelize children, teens and adults. We trained new believers, built classrooms, worked in the community with new believers from previous years and did medical work. Below is the story of one boy whose situation in particular touched my heart.
The little 8-year-old boy gritted his teeth and swung at me with his balled up fist. “OWWEEE,” he said as I very carefully tried to look at the terribly infected hand he was hiding behind his back. He had been playing with a dirty, rusty knife some two weeks before and had cut himself badly. The cut had gotten infected, and his hand swelled to an enormous size. The infection traveled up his arm, and with no medical attention he was in jeopardy of losing his hand and his life.
Daily I cleaned and bandaged the cut and prayed, “Lord this boy needs help. Without you there is no hope!”
God sent an American doctor on the second week I was in Cotui. He was part of our first team, what an answer to prayer! With crude operating tools purchased at the small local pharmacy, five adults needed to hold him down as we cut the swollen hand open and drained six to eight ounces of putrid black pus and infection out of his hand. We packed it with sulfur which helps to dry out the infection and act as an antibiotic.
Over the following three weeks, I daily washed out the hand and re-packed and re-wrapped it. The day before I came home we removed the final bandage. The hand was healed and there was no more infection. Johan went from screaming and crying and trying to hit me, to giving me a hug and thanking us for saving his life.
When I shared with him that Jesus loved him on one of our last hand cleaning sessions, he said, “Tia Milagros and the teachers teach us about him. I think you must be like him.” But then before I could pat myself on the back he said, “But when he heal people it no hurt. What’s up with that? I think you gotta learn more!”