This is our newest patient, Michael. He is 21 years old and was just diagnosed with lupus. He has been hospitalized for the past month because of persisting infections all over his body due to his compromised immune system. Michael's family is very poor and certainly cannot afford his medications, which cost up to $85 per vial.
When I first met Michael in the hospital, I thought he was surely dying. He was covered with open wounds and rashes, and he couldn't sit up without support or feed himself. We purchased a lot of medicine as well as an electric fan to keep him cool in his isolation room. He is now slightly improved. His parents are very devoted to caring for him, but their faces reveal both exhaustion and worry for their oldest son.
Michael receives daily visits from the physical therapist to help him practice standing and walking. Lying in bed for the past month has caused a large bed sore to form on his backside, and he cannot leave the hospital until it heals. We hope to transfer Michael to the mainland to be treated by a rheumatologist, who will be able to prescribe daily maintenance medication for his lupus.
As a missionary frequently encountering serious illnesses, I realize how little I can do, and simultaneously how much Christ wants to do through me. Michael is generally rather nonresponsive, at least to me, a stranger and a foreigner. The most alert and interactive I have ever seen him was the day we read to him from Scripture the story of Jesus healing a paralytic.
"Jesus said to him, 'Rise, take up your pallet, and walk.' And at once the man was healed, and he took up his pallet and walked." -John 5:8-9
We believe in miracles! And we trust that Michael, too, will experience Jesus' healing touch, so that he may rise and walk again.