Friday, April 18, 2014

Hope Comes In All Shapes & Sizes

Perhaps it was reluctant.  Argued against.  Or simply resisted.

But, in the end, the answer was yes.  She wanted to go.  Without any reluctance or resistance.  And the children wanted to go as well.  Maybe they didn't share the same concerns. Responsibilities. Obligation.  The expenses involved for five people. Or maybe just the thought of a completely different environment ... an extreme cross cultural environment.  But she and the children had none of those.

But, in the end, the answer was yes.

Brian finally agreed that it would be a family adventure.  He, his wife, Maren, and their three children, two sons, age 22 and 12, and a daughter, age 16, made the 10,000 mile trip around the world.  They spent 12 days in Uganda, East Africa.

Dr. Brian Snyders examining students
The consequences of a simple yes can be astounding!  It's ironic that many people are waiting for God, but He is often waiting for us. Waiting for a simple and often small YES.

The Snyders family will never be the same. The 12 days they spent in Uganda resulted in their lives being changed forever.  They saw things, experienced things, thought about things, and considered things they had never done before.  And they are changed.

The change in them was not isolated.  Like dominoes standing on end and colliding with each other, event after events have fallen in a symmetrical pattern because of that small yes.

Maren dispenses medication in Jinja slum
The Snyders own and operate a medical clinic in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho that serves around 9,000 patients.  It was a big responsibility to leave behind for the unknown of an undeveloped nation.  Having a single piece of luggage, filled with medical supplies, retained by the Uganda Revenue Authority, it did nothing to increase his anticipation of a great experience in Africa.

But, all it took was an encounter with little William and his grandmother to change all of that!  He was a small, two year old boy who needed serious medical attention. The best surgeons available in Jinja discovered a pathological fracture in his left tibia and conducted a surgery which removed the the dead bone. Unfortunately, they did not irrigate the leg with antibiotic and a nasty and chronic infection continued. William had surgery yesterday on the same leg at the International Hospital Kampala with the best orthopedic surgeon in Uganda, Dr. Muballe.

Penina & David with their mothers at IHK
William was just the beginning.  Soon Dr. Brian was designing and drafting shelving cubicles for medical supplies. And, visiting Our Own Home with the 62 HIV positive children in it.  And, visiting the slums of Masese, almost daily, to administer free medical attention.  And, discovering two lame children at Fountain of Hope Primary School in Bukeeka, Uganda.

Brian and Maren lost their last born son to cancer not long ago.  He was just 19 months old.  The pain of that loss and the faith they have in Jesus Christ intensified the love they have for children and their medical challenges. They suggested that they work with Next Generation Ministries in doing something about those two lame children, Penina and David, from Fountain of Hope Primary School, along with William.

Pediatric Ward the day after Penina & David's surgeries
Brian and Paul believed they may have found the best orthopedic surgeon in Uganda in Dr. Muballe who practices out of International Hospital Kampala.  Consultations were scheduled for David, William, and Penina. He was tramatized by what he found on their Xrays.  He wished he could have been the one to initially do the surgery on William.  Now he would have to re-enter the leg, screw the small bone to the upper and lower parts of the tibia that were left and irrigate it with antibiotic for at least five days.

He discovered that David had his left leg amputated after a doctor suggested if it wasn't, the deformity on it would turn into cancer.  Unlikely.  Finally, Dr. Muballe discovered that Penina had broken her leg back in November of last year, but due to a severe lack of finances her single mother had, nothing was done.  A pin would have to be inserted in both parts of the broken bone and screws attached to it.

All of these procedures have been done since the Synders returned to Idaho.  All because someone living a busy and comfortable life in the paradise of Idaho decided to give God a simple yes and come to a suffering third world nation.

Hope.  Something in short supply here in Uganda.  Poverty, disease, witchcraft, corruption, polygamy, and fragmented families are but a few of the contributors to a lack of hope.  But, hope can come in all shapes and sizes. Some people may discount the impact of short term missions like the one to which Brian and Maren said yes.  Try and convince Penina, David, and their mothers and families. Try to convince William's grandmother.  It's pretty difficult to put a price tag on HOPE. Thanks for saying "yes" and bringing hope to many here in Uganda.

More specific details and photos of the medical journeys of all three children are available at Next Generation Ministries Facebook page.


  1. Paul and Pam,
    We are humbled at your story. We are more humbled that God chose us for this service. After the dominoes have fallen, it is easy to look back at the first domino. Our first domino occurred right losing Emmett, while I was in the Christian bookstore looking for books about Heaven and spontaneously bought Kisses from Katie. It took several months to read it because the emotions were so great that I could only read and process a couple pages at a time. The dominoes kept falling and landed us in Uganda last month. The dominoes continue to fall creating visual and tangible support of God's word that, "All things work together for good to those who love God" - even when that involves the death of our son. Is it true? Yes, it is true.

    1. Beautiful ... absolutely beautiful. Thank you for saying yes to God.

  2. What a beautiful and touching story Paul. Thanks. I sure would love to meet this family someday. Well if not here maybe in heaven right !! Praising God for the connections He has given you in your ministry and especially there in Uganda. Amazing what can be done in God's kingdom when we get in line with the falling dominoes. That's a great illustration !! Love it and love you all too,

    1. God knows how to write amazing stories ... if we will let Him instead of writing our own. He simply needs a YES.

      Who knows, maybe we will see some of these people in August at the annual Next Generation Ministries BBQ. That would be pretty cool. Maybe we should should start calling that 'thing" a Reunion.


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