Stories From the Field: Mary

by a Converge medical worker
stories from the field

This story comes from a Converge medical worker, who is a physical therapist in Africa. Here is the story of a new believer in her own words.

We made a visit to *Mary, a recent follower of Jesus who is handicapped. During our visit, she opened up and shared her testimony. This is what she said.

“My family have always been nomadic shepherds, traveling with their cows and sheep. I married a cow herder and we had a difficult life, always on the move, even with sick children. We never had money for medicine. My husband started to drink alcohol, until he left us and did nothing else. I was alone with the children in the bush, without a home.

Then I got sick. My legs hurt so badly that I couldn’t walk, and I would have to crawl on the ground. My husband’s family took all my children away. Finally, a few friends helped send me to Nigeria, where my mother was living. She was so upset when she saw me that she sold everything she owned – her dresses, her pots, her bed – so that I could have some money to get medical help. But at the health center in Nigeria they said there was nothing they could do. But they knew that there was a doctor (an orthopedic surgeon) who could help me back in the town where we had lived, if I was willing to go back until he came. He only comes and does a clinic twice in the year. I was in so much pain and I was so sick but it was my only chance.

I went to the hospital, the doctor came and they operated on me, removing the head of my femur in my hip. They told me it would take me a long time to recover. I would just lie in the hospital bed alone, angry and in despair. I was thankful for the doctor and the nurses, who would pray for me.

Then one day a physical therapist came to the hospital. I had never heard of his kind of doctor. He told me he would come and work with me every day so that I could walk again. He could speak my language and prayed for me, and I could understand he really talked to God personally. I started to hope God had not abandoned me to die. The white doctors and wives all came and visited me and prayed with me. I wanted to know what made them so kind to me, an outcast, even after I had found a room to rent in town. 

I had to go back to the hospital again for another operation because my other leg caused me incredible pain. After the second operation, I couldn’t walk at all. One day, after my treatment, from my physical therapist he asked me, “Would you like to come down to the House of Prayer?” At first I was curious but afraid, because I can’t read and I don’t know very much about religion. I started going every week, since I was just lying there in the hospital anyway. The physical therapist would load my wheelchair into his car at the hospital and take me down to the Bible studies. There I met other people like me. They prayed for me and took up offerings to help me. It took time but God was doing something in my heart, and I realized I could even pray to him myself. I started to follow Jesus Christ as the way to God. Eventually, I was healed enough to go home, although I will only be able to walk with crutches.

Now, even though I have pain, I have hope because of Jesus Christ. The physical therapist and his wife gave me an audio version of the Bible and stories I can listen to on my phone. It makes my heart happy. I go every week and learn about the Bible with other believers. At night when I go to sleep I even dream of Jesus. I know he is with me.” 

Our Converge medical worker writes, “Pray for Mary’s safety and that she learns a trade so she can support herself. Pray for her faith to grow, and that she would be bold in sharing her new joy with friends and neighbors. Pray for us as we walk the line of trying to help people like Mary without creating dependency.”

*not her real name for security reasons

    Point - September 2018

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