Cataracts and Cleft Lips

Posted on November 26, 2012

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Cleft Lips

When was the last time you saw a person with a cleft lip? How about a dozen of them crowded around a small airstrip? They have been collected from the jungles and wild places of  South Sudan, brought to an airstrip and told they will be made better. The tension in the group is almost a physical wall. They speak in hushed tones and those old enough to know their “shame” cover their faces. A deformed person is often seen as cursed and sent out of the village—an outcast among their people. Even coming to board this plane, they are wary of a trick, that they might be cast out. But the possibility of what has been offered to them is too good to pass up.

They cautiously board the plane that takes them to a hospital hundreds of miles away. One that is too full so doctors perform surgeries outside under tents. But these doctors are not just ordinary doctors. They are some of the best specialists in their field and are artists at putting broken faces back together. They are performing hundreds of these surgeries.

You can see the full gallery of SP’s pictures at http://www.samaritan.org/index.php/In_Pictures/photos/cleft_lip_surgery_south_sudan/ which is where I got them.

The turn around time is short: two days and they are back in the airplane; this time they are singing and laughing. The past darkness of their hearts pushed out and replaced by joy. The plane lands and the awaiting villagers are hesitant,  not sure what to expect. They have not seen anything like this before. As the first patients get off the plane, the fear washes away and is replaced by celebration.

Cataracts

Hundreds of kilometers to the south, near Eldoret, Kenya, doctors perform over two hundred surgeries for people with cataracts. So many patients show up that they do not have the time to operate on both eyes, but give as many as they can one good eye with the hope of returning soon and finishing the job.

Participants

Neither of these situations would be possible without aviation. The logistics, even with aircraft, are staggering. Though we were not there, directly interacting with these  people, we are thankful that we get to participate in their healing indirectly by serving with AIM Air.

Christ came to seek and save the lost, to be the great physician who healed the deeper brokenness of our hearts, but along the way—to exemplify his power and to display his grace—he healed people’s bodies, too. We get to be an extension of that ministry. And those of you who pray for us and support us do, too.

 

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