Exactly what is a critical medical need? Most of us think it's a debilitating or lifethreatening condition, and that is true. But for many of the world's poor who lack qualified doctors, clinics or the means to pay for them, a simple toothache, left untreated, can grow into something that prevents them from being able to provide for their families—or worse, can end their lives.
Below are just a few of the many testimonies we receive about lives being impacted and transformed by the Critical Medical Needs Ministry of Heaven’s Family.
It was a routine visit that turned into a nightmare. Daryl, an American missionary in Guatemala, and his team had almost arrived at the rural shack in Nueva Concepción, where they intended to check up on 17-year-old Rosario, afflicted since age 4 with brain damage due to an untreated fever. Daryl had already provided Rosario with a wheelchair, and he had regularly visited her to bring medicine. But as he and his team caught site of Rosario's tiny home, they saw her mother frantically waving her arms at them.
The security guard barely noticed her in the deepening darkness—just a poor neighbor throwing her trash onto one of the neighborhood garbage heaps, he concluded. His thoughts drifted to other matters. It was a normal beginning to his nightly watch at one of the residences on the outskirts of Mombasa, Kenya. It was March 26, 2006, and this security guard's shift would prove to be anything but normal.
A couple months ago I received an email from Kevin, a Christian brother in Uganda, asking for help from the Critical Medical Needs Ministry. He told me about Akumu Janifer, a young 23-year-old woman living in great pain. Akumu slipped from her mother's arms when she was just 6 months old, but her mother never sought medical care for her and she seemed to get better.
My husband and I were in Kitale, Kenya, earlier this year, enjoying a wonderful church service with the congregation of Pastor Cleophas Makona. Afterwards, I began meeting people who had medical needs. In that line was a young man named Mark. My heart was immediately touched when my eyes met his—that's because his eyes were red, swollen and watering profusely.
I get so excited meeting people who have been helped by the Critical Medical Needs Fund! And on my recent trip to Kenya, I was blessed to meet my friend Alice Nakhumicha. Alice has podiconiosis (also known as mossy feet), a disease of the lymph vessels of the lower extremities that is caused by long exposure to irritant soils, and is characterized by prominent swelling of the lower extremities. Untreated, it leads to disfigurement and disability.