Sunday, February 28, 2016

The family that prays together

Look at this happy face -- there's no better feeling than being cleared for discharge! Little Francisco was hospitalized for five days for his broken femur, and I was so excited to capture one of his rare, hard-won smiles on camera! His dad, Raul, spoiled him with a little pack of hair gel to celebrate the occasion.

Thrilled to finally be going home!!
Last November, Raul left his family behind in Camiguin, trying to find work on the nearby island of Bohol, but when he heard that his son had been in a serious accident, he rushed home immediately. I was slightly nervous to meet this man who, his wife had informed me, drank, smoke, and had done little to provide for his family for the past few months. I wondered, will he even know how to care for this injured little boy who winces at the lightest touch or pressure put on his leg?

I shouldn't have worried. Raul is a tender, loving father who was attentive to Francisco's every need. Look closely and you can see his smile in this picture! Even his wife Mel was shocked at the difference she witnessed in her husband.

Francisco together with both of his parents.
On Sunday morning, I came early to the hospital to find Raul sitting at Francisco's bedside, reading a laminated card that read, 'Prayer before receiving communion.' Quite surprised, I asked him, "Do you want to go to Mass downstairs in the chapel?" 

"No, my wife is there, so I have to stay here to watch over Francisco."

"Ako lang," I insisted. "I already attended Mass this morning, so I'll watch him if you want to go."

"Okay!" he readily agreed and got up from his chair. My surprise was outmatched by Mel's when I spoke with her afterwards. "I was there praying in the chapel, and I looked up and saw him next to me! I didn't expect that! And he was really praying!"

Mel explained that it had been a long time since Raul had attended Mass at all, and she especially couldn't believe his fervor as he prayed for their son's healing.

Maybe that is why God allowed this to happen to Francisco, we mused together. To restore the family. To bring Raul back home and back to the Lord.

Above all, I am grateful that Raul and Mel recognize that it is not the Americanos, not the missionaries, not anything we have done, but rather Jesus Christ Who is responsible for Francisco's quick recovery. It is our Father in heaven Who provides each day for the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of His children. Thank You, Lord Jesus, for working yet another miracle in the lives of the people we are so blessed to serve!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Nahulog sa kapayas!

[Translation: "He fell out of a papaya tree!"

This little boy and his parents have reason to celebrate tonight! Six-year-old Francisco fractured his femur two days ago when he fell out of a papaya tree. His family had no other food to eat with their rice, so he was climbing their tree to pick some of the fruit when the accident happened.

My first ambulance ride! Francisco didn't complain once during the five-hour journey from Camiguin to the mainland, including the one-hour ferry crossing.

Praise Jesus, we were able to secure two packs of blood for transfusion before and after the surgery (Blood is hard to come by here, and you typically must provide your own donors. One of our friends generously offered to be a donor for Francisco.)

Francisco successfully underwent surgery this morning, receiving stainless steel implants that will be removed in one year. He is doing well and should be discharged on Sunday.

I loved having the opportunity to be a missionary witness in the hospital, praying the Rosary, reading the Bible, and speaking about the Lord's goodness both with Francisco's parents and with the other patients in the ward.

Indeed, how good is the Lord to entrust us with the care of His precious children! Please pray that this experience of God's merciful love will draw Francisco's family into a closer relationship with one another and with the Lord!