Our missionary, Laura, tells another story of how our first-aid service made a difference in the life of one of our villagers.
It was late at night when Genevieve’s parents brought her to me because she had been burned. I had to use a flashlight to see the burn, and it was bad.
Genevieve’s parents felt terrible. They had just taken a pot of cornmeal off the open fire, so it was still boiling hot. The parents had stepped away for a brief moment, and their curious little girl went to see what was in the pot. Genevieve lost her balance and fell over, and her hand went all the way into the boiling cornmeal, halfway up to her elbow. This was not a case of negligence; it was just a terrible accident.
When I saw Genevieve’s hand, I knew she had second- and third-degree burns. Her parents had smeared mud and toothpaste on her hand and arm to try to cool it down and relieve her pain. Before I could assess the burn fully, I had to try to clean it off, but I already knew she needed immediate medical attention beyond what I could provide.
I gave her some children’s ibuprofen for the pain, we prayed over her and I did what I could get it cleaned and bandaged. Somehow Genevieve fell asleep after I gave her the medicine. That had to be a gift of comfort from the Lord. It was absolutely unbelievable that she did not wake up.
We paid for Genevieve to go to the hospital right away. While there, the doctor debrided her burn (and sedated her during the excruciating process). But that was the only care she had at the doctor. The rest of her recovery was handled by me. Every single day for almost two months, her mother brought Genevieve to our house so I could change her dressings and apply Silvadene burn cream (which had been left with us by a doctor on a short-term mission). Eventually, Genevieve’s mother took over her daily care and brought her to me once a week for checkups.
It’s almost unbelievable how well Genevieve’s hand healed. One of our ministry supporters, who is a pediatrician, had told me that she might not regain full range of motion in her hand because of the third-degree burns between her fingers and on her palm. But praise God, she does have full range of motion. In fact, her hand healed so well you can hardly tell she was ever burned.
We believe God put many things in place to heal Genevieve. First, the people in the village are learning to trust me, and they know they can come to me for care. Second, we had the money to transport her to the hospital for burn care, and a doctor was available to provide that care right away. Third, I had enough burn medicine and sterile dressings in our first-aid kit to use throughout Genevieve’s recovery. And finally, God’s healing touch renewed the skin on her hand, leaving her whole again.
Thank you to all of our supporters for making moments like these possible. We truly are the only source of medical care in the village. Your donations make it possible for us to continue to provide essential first-aid service to the people we know and love in Belle Vie.