Thursday, April 14, 2016

I Just Couldn't Say NO

My very sick friend Yunus
Yunus was not on my schedule for yesterday.

Actually, I had never heard of this kid before yesterday!

I had a plan that didn't include this ten year old kid.  But, I have had to learn that there is always another unknown plan that takes priority over the things I want to accomplish each day.  If I interpret the revision of my plans as interruptions I end up elevating my personal plan above the One who directs my steps.  I make plans, but He is the Director.

Yesterday God used Yunus to alter my plan. Let me tell you the story.

It started with an unexpected phone call. The caller was at a clinic to collect his next supply of free drugs for treatment of his tuberculosis.  It seems there was a young boy, at the same clinic, whose father was being told to take his son to the government's children's hospital here in Jinja. This motivated my caller to wonder if Next Generation Ministries could help this very swollen 10 year old.

Susan takes Yunus temperature at the IMC clinic
I was not prepared to face what I found in this big change of plans, but I found myself responding, "Sure.  It's fine.  Bring the boy over and we will take a look at him."  I continued to work from my plan for the day until I heard people on the veranda through the open window of my office.  I stepped out of my office and told Ezra, who was working at the dining room table, "Hey ... let's take a look at this boy."

Quickly the history of Yunus' brief existence on earth unfolded.  His mother was HIV positive and passed on that death sentence to Yunus when she was pregnant with him. She had already succumbed to death leaving Yunus with a father who was HIV negative.  This condition is usually the thing people tell us when we start investigating a medical issue.  From that tragic beginning ... a beginning that Yunus had no choice in ... we were told that he had been swelling over the past several months.  It wasn't until his current shallow breathing and obvious fever that the father was prompted to come to the city to have the health issue of Yunus addressed.

Yunus put on oxygen to help his shallow breathing
Ezra and I were both aware that NGM has nearly depleted its financial resources for medical challenges, outside of our Maternal Advocacy Program.  But, with an intentional glance at each other, we knew that neither of us had the ability to say "no" to the needs of a boy that could die this day.  We made a commitment to do all we could to see if his life could be saved.

Our first stop was at the local clinic, here in Jinja, where our friend, Nurse Susan, and some pretty good doctors work.  We simply needed to have some medical professionals to confirm what we suspected ... specifically that this boy needed to be admitted to the hospital to allow professionals to monitor medical treatment and fight for his life.

Susan draws HIV infected blood for analysis
Susan immediately took his temperature. Wow! ... I quickly did the conversion from 39.9 celcius to 103.82 fahrenheit and turned toward Susan with an astonished look on my face.  She calmly said, "This boy is just moments from going into convulsions."  She gave him an injection to combat the fever and began to wipe his body with a cool damp cloth.  By then the doctor had come and confirmed that we had a very sick boy on our hands.  His liver appeared to be enlarged and his breathing and fever might indicate pneumonia. The fluid in his ankles and the rest of his body indicated perhaps the heart was involved as well.  The doctor told us that the boy had to be admitted, but NOT to a hospital in Jinja.  Yunus was put on oxygen and blood was drawn for analysis as we organized for a trip to the capital city of Kampala.

Pediatrician at IHK does the second evaluation in the ER
Peter Bukenya was called for driving.  Money was collected for fuel and food.  And off we set for the International Hospital Kampala.  The pediatrician there confirmed what was written on the referral form at the Jinja clinic.  He ordered an X-ray of the lungs and an ultrasound scan of the internal organs.

The pediatrician nurse and I had payment forms verified and admission papers filled out. Because Yunus had several symptoms of tuberculosis, he was put in an isolation room with his father until tests could be done to prove he was either negative or positive.

Preparing father & son for chest X-ray
Few people in America can accurately imagine the poverty here in Uganda.  Few can accept that most people do not have financial resources for a doctor's consultation or any medicine that may be required for treatment of even a minor illness.  It is not until death comes knocking at their door, or the door of a loved one, that a desparate attempt is made to rescue a life from the clutches of death.

Though many will complain about increased health care costs in America, most people in the West make adjustments in their daily coffee consumption or scrap their plans for attendance at professional sport events or musical concerts. The gap between the discretionary choices of Africans and Americans is HUGE.

Taking a look inside with ultrasound scan
NGM is doing all that we can to minister to the lives of the poor and needy because we  sense that the Lord has given us each assignment.  But, then we find ourselves needing to post yet another blog that makes a plea for contributions to help pay the medical bills for these people.  We know that many of our readers, and especially those who have been here on short term missions, are doing so much to be a part of expressing the Kingdom of God to the people here in Uganda.  The last thing we want is to motivate or manipulate any donor with guilt. But, at the same time, we want you to seriously stop and consider if it is the Lord Himself that is issuing you an invitation to join Him in what He is doing somewhere in this big world like Uganda.  I pray that you will hear His voice.

Ezra explains hospital procedure in the isolation room
While writing this, my phone, resting to the right of me beeped, and I saw that I just received an update from Ezra on Yusun.  The message reads:

"Has very bad pneumonia, which is being treated, TB, cardiac issues, where the cardiology/echo test will be done tomorrow at SAS or KAS, but right now more test are being made ... Blood test have been taken for CD$ count and he has infection in the chest that comes with HIV infected patients.  We will get more details after they see the cardiologists for further tests and examinations."

We need you to be a part of our team here in Africa.  We literally don't have the money to cover these expenses for Yunus and the family, who come from the village, have no resources either.  But, for some reason, God brought this boy to our front porch and we believe he is our divine assignment.  And, for some reason, we have a connection to you and we wonder if Yunus is not a part of your mission as well.

I imagine that this appeal was not a part of your plan today and I'm confident that you didn't have a written note in your daily planner to send dollars to NGM for medical ministry.  But, maybe, just maybe, this blog is a "divine interruption" to give you the joy of being a part of something bigger than your own plans.

I came across a verse in the Bible the other day that made me sit up and read it several times.  Most people must think that the historical sin of Sodom was homosexualty, however Ezekiel 16:49 reads "Sodom's sins were pride, gluttony, and laziness, while the poor and needy suffered outside her door."

Please send your donation to Next Generation Ministries, 29940 South Dhooghe Road, Colton, OR 97017 and mark it NGM Medical.

For the medically inclined:


  1. We will mail a check to you to help cover expenses. Do you know what the bill is so far?

    1. May the Lord bless you for your generosity. We are SO grateful. We won't know the total until the first part of next week, but we anticipate it will be in the neighborhood of $1,500.

  2. Sending you lots of love and prayers of healing for baby Yunus!

    1. Thanks. An update should be posted late Saturday evening.


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