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Sunday, July 04, 2010

Greetings From Togo! #2

MercyWatch
Greetings From Togo!    #2
July 3, 2010
The Changes Should Settle Down Now
Thank you for your understanding and support as we've changed from our previous provider to iContact. The administrative process seems to be complete. So from here on out we should be able to concentrate on bringing you some news and stories about our adventures.

Remember God's Provisions and Faithfulness
Over the last several weeks I (Rob) have had occasion to remember God's faithfulness and provisions. I don't think I'd actually forgotten them...maybe just became a little used to them and started taking them a little for granted. So God has ever so gently reminded me in my prayer time and moments when I'm left with my own thoughts of Him. Do you ever find yourself at a crossroads or a point of decision? Sometimes these periods can be so daunting and I (Rob) must confess I'm the worrier. 

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It helps me to remember and reflect on the many times God has provided for us and answered prayer. The many times He has surprised us yet again with His attention to detail and how He knows our needs better than we know ourselves. It is in this season I've spent some time over the last several weeks. Remember your story of God's faithfulness and provision. Have you shared it lately? I hadn't...I had to dust it off and confess it was me who had withdrawn and stopped looking for the opportunities to share. We each have a story to tell, let's not keep it to ourselves.

My Lovely Wife, Shares Her Smiles and God's Grace
Have you ever gone to an office and really appreciated the way you were greeted? Maybe the appointment wasn't the most exciting, but the manner in which you were greeted made the visit more pleasant. This is what I see each time someone has an encounter with Denise. She is a very busy lady these days wearing the hat of the Staff Development Manager and the Human Resources Manager. She manages these two roles excellently and with a smile for everyone.
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The other day we were reading our daily devotional together where we were reminded that God's grace is new each morning. We don't have to store it up, but pour it out into a hurting world. God will fill us up again each morning. I see evidence of this in Denise daily. Her spirit is full of grace and it shows.
The following story is provided by the Mercy Ships Communication Department.  It is about a precious young boy, Abel.  Our good friend, Elaine, was able to be a part of the team taking Abel back home, she told us it was an experience she will never forget!  


Abel's Story

Abel had a normal childhood until a problem arose following an injection. His parents noticed he was having difficulty learning to crawl. His muscles had stopped growing, but his bones had not. As a result, his legs were not growing correctly because there was so little musculature to direct them. They began to bend backward at the knee, forcing his upper thighs out behind him. His parents took him to three different doctors, but none of them knew what to do for him.

Despite this condition, the resolute Abel learned to lean forward, correcting his balance enough to walk, climb and do just about anything any other active boy can do. He even became the goalkeeper on his football (soccer) team. The only thing he couldn’t do was ride a bicycle, since it requires sitting straight on the seat and pushing down on the pedals.

Abel’s physical deformity made him the target of ridicule from other children.  But he remained optimistic thanks to his joyful spirit and his wonderfully supportive parents.

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One day, there was an announcement on the radio that a Mercy Ship was coming to Togo, offering free surgeries. Abel’s hopeful father took his son to an orthopedic screening in Lomè.

A few days later, a wonderful surprise awaited Abel when he awoke after his first surgery onboard the Africa Mercy. His left leg was straight out in front of him, wrapped in a cast!  As he admired his newly straightened leg, he asked his dad if his right leg would also be straight after the next surgery. His father assured him that it would. Abel jubilantly declared, “If the other leg is going to be like this one, I am going to give a big thanks to the Lord.”  And a second surgery did straighten his right leg. He also had a third procedure – plastic surgery on his knees.

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Through the round of surgeries and post-operative care, Abel’s sparkling personality and brilliant smile earned him many new friends among the crew and among the other children recovering at the Hospitality Center.  

Even though Abel loves soccer, his long-term goal is not to become a famous soccer player.   He is now determined to become a surgeon, like those on the Mercy Ship, “because of the things they have done for me,” he said.

Finally, after more than three months of surgery and recovery, it was time to return home to the village of Homa, deep in the bush.  Abel and his father, accompanied by a Mercy Ships team, climbed into the Mercy Ships Land Rover to start the six-hour journey.

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And it was quite a journey!  The Land Rover struggled for more than two hours to traverse the muddy, deep-puddled pathway to Homa.  In first gear, the intrepid vehicle clawed its way over mucky mounds and through watery ruts.  Occasionally, passers-by paused to see if the car would win its battle with the road. A semi-truck stuck diagonally in the mud almost ended the trip.  But the Rover squeezed by, narrowly missing the swamp on the right and the side mirrors of the truck on the left.

Perseverance was rewarded when they finally arrived at the village.  As villagers recognized the Mercy Ships logo on the vehicle, they ran to spread the word.  Soon the Land Rover was surrounded by curious villagers who wanted to see what the volunteer doctors had done for the boy with the backward legs.

The suspense ended abruptly when the star of the show, a very happy Abel, climbed out of the vehicle … with two straight legs!  There were gasps of surprise, disbelieving stares, and cheers. 
Abel, dressed in his cheerful blue and yellow outfit, was the center of attention. The other boys in the village stood quietly nearby.  Could this be the same Abel that they had insulted, beaten up, and called names? 

Abel kicked a small soccer ball with his wonderfully straightened legs, and not one of the boys moved.  Abel, who had never retaliated during the mistreatment, smiled graciously at them. He was clearly the uncontested victor on every level.

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A beautifully prepared meal was provided for the Mercy Ships crew at the home of the village pastor.  It was enjoyed with great appreciation.

The Dalome family – all 20 or so members – squeezed together for a photo commemorating this fantastic and unforgettable moment.  Abel’s grandfather joyfully pronounced, “Now, I know there is a God because I see Abel has straight legs.”

When it came time for the team to leave, the villagers vigorously shook the hands of each crew member and expressed their thanks, saying, “God bless Mercy Ships.”

Story by Elaine B. Winn
Edited by Nancy Predaina
Photos by Debra Bell and Liz Cantu



Thank YOU!
We thank God for our blessings and for you!  As we serve here in Togo, we thank God that your prayers and support sustain us.   We are always aware that your prayers protect us, strengthen us, encourage us, guide us and are with us each and every day!  Thank you so much! 
May God bless you abundantly as you trust in Him as you live the life He has given you!
God's blessings,
Rob and Denise
M/V Africa Mercy
Mercy Ships
currently serving in Lomé, Togo

This message was sent from Rob and Denise Miller.   It was sent from: Denise Miller, PO Box 2020 Africa Mercy, Lindale, TX 75771. You can modify/update your subscription via the link below.

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