Tuesday, March 17, 2015

From Hopeless to HOPE

Boda Boda overloaded with school children
It was a walk home from school unlike any other.  It wasn't her first time.  Sharon had walked home from school  hundreds of times before. But this walk was interrupted by a being "knocked" (a Ugandan term meaning hit by a vehicle) by a boda boda (a small motor bike used for transporting humans and cargo).

Not once.  But TWICE!

The first boda knocked her down and may have broken the lower bones in her right leg. But, the second boda ran over her upper torso, breaking both upper arms.  Both drove off and left a broken human being in the street!  Like she was no different from the numerous plastic bags discarded on the street.

To add insult to injury ... she had been in the government hospital for three days before she was discovered by friends of Next Generation Ministries.

So much pain after arriving at IHK
An associate of NGM, Chris Kulaba discovered, through a friend, that a young girl had been knocked down and run over by two bodas on Monday afternoon ... but that no one had worked on her since she was admitted to Jinja Main Hospital.  He rapped on my office door, came in, sat  down on the couch, and told me, "Dad, we have a medical emergency."

Within minutes we arrived at the government hospital to confirm that there was little hope for this girl.  We attempted to encourage the family whose faces were etched in hopelessness.  I dropped into bed that night wondering what would God have us do with this girl when morning came.

As I met with others on the veranda Thursday morning, March 12, 2015, I shared with them what I had posted on my Facebook page that morning.  Here is what I posted.

I am faced with a challenging decision this morning. I went to Jinja Main Hospital last evening to check on an 8 year old girl named Sharon. She was knocked down by a boda on her way to school Monday. A second boda ran over her, breaking both arms and one leg. She has had no pain medication and the bones have not been set since then. Her family has no money ... not even one cell phone among them. They appear to be the poorest among the poor. One surgeon has agreed to do surgery on both arms and cast the leg ... for 7,000,000/= ($2,500) ... not including hospital costs. My favorite surgeon in Kampala will work on her, but I have yet to hear his surgical fees and his hospital will be MUCH more expensive than the local one the first surgeon would use. Additionally, I don't have enough money in our NGM Medical Account to finish the medical issues I'm currently working on AND add this one to them. I will make a decision this morning with the counsel of others and God's leading.
After some discusssion, Jeff Patteson, an NGM Board Member visiting from the States, asked me, "What would you do if this was your granddaughter?"  It was rhetorical.  A decision was made to accept the opportunity from and God and depend on Him to provide resources for all expenses.

Preparing to transport Sharon to Kampala
God confirmed the decision we made soon after.  The best orthopedic surgeon in the country sent me a message telling me to deduct 30% from the fee that his secretary had quoted (which was the identical amount another surgeon had quoted).  Within moments a young single mother of two sons in the state of Oregon asked if she could open a GoFundMe account to accept donations for Sharon's medical expenses!  God was acting quickly to provide for what we believed was His guidance.

Sharon's CT Scan completed
Armed with enthusiasm, we drove to the government hospital to collect Sharon and transfer her to the International Hospital Kampala.  As soon as it became apparent that a patient was going to be moved from the government facility to a private facility ... and one of the best in the nation besides ... we began to face opposition and attempts to keep Sharon for treatment.  Color became an issue since the doctors were not talking with the nationals, who had observed the tragic circumstances and brought the opportunity to us, but they were attempting to impress a couple of white guys as though they really had compassion for Sharon.  We were not impressed and asked them why were they tell us all these things?  After a frustrating three hour struggle, we managed to load Sharon and her mother in the NGM van for the three hour ride to Kampala.

Sitting in a chair waiting for discharge papers
In less than 24 hours spent in a caring, compassionate, competent medical facility it seems as though we had traveled from medical hell into medical heaven!  The ER doctor at International Hospital Kampala, another friend of mine, asked great questions about what had happened to Sharon. With that background she ordered ultrasound to investigate the possibility of internal bleeding or injury. She ordered a CT Scan to see in case of bleeding in the brain or fractures of the skull. She ordered Xrays for the broken bones in Sharon's limbs. She ordered a blood scan to make sure all organs were operating properly.  In other brief words ... she did a thorough investigation of the patient's status!

The surgeon ordered metal plates for Sharon's upper arms and material for a super lightweight cast for her leg.  Two days after her surgery she was calling me on the phone.  Previously she wasn't talking, smiling, laughing, or eating.  The change was dramatic!

While waiting for the final discharge papers from the hospital on Tuesday, March 17, 2015, I paid for the operation, the surgeon's reduced fee, and the hospital bill ... more than 8 Million Shillings ($2,800) ... resulting in the disappearance of Sharon's mother.  Soon we heard the sniffles and nose blowing behind a curtain, indication of a full heart accompanied by happy tears.  When she came to the hospital she didn't even have a cell  phone (NGM purchased one for her) and no idea of how she was going to eat while staying with her daughter in the hospital (NGM provided food money). The hopelessness had long disappeared.  Hope is an amazing thing.

This is an 8 day short story of a little girl in Uganda who was busted up by a couple of motorbikes and who got the medical every parent would want for their child in America.

But, if you look behind the details of the story you will find Jesus Christ.  He caused Chris to notice his friend looking at his cell phone.  He motivated Chris to come and tell us about a family that was in despair, discouragement, and defeat.  He used Jeff to ask the question that lead to the course of action.  He prompted a single mother named Sarah in Oregon to immediately start a GoFundMe donation sight on Facebook.  He nudged Dr. Muballe to reduce his normal fee by 30%.  Within a day or two Jesus Christ had gathered financial partners to contribute to NGM so that the medial bills, transportation, food, and even a cell phone could be purchased or paid for.

So .... this is a God story!  Isn't He after all, the God of HOPE!?!


  1. God is amazing! So are His friends.

  2. Tears! I SO love this story (and that handsome man pushing Sharon's wheelchair!), and I love our God and Sharon's God and her priceless grin--oh she is a doll! What a glorious reminder that all kids are God's kids, and your willingness to go "out on a limb" for her as if she were your own, because she is God's own. Thank you for taking the time to write this out and share the story. Glory to God!

    1. I love it when people love God's stories! Can't wait to be a part of the next one.


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