The first pictures I saw of Baby Sarah a few months ago were startling. And heartbreaking. Her tiny body was devastatingly depleted from malnutrition. She was several months old, yet only weighed around two pounds. She was losing her vision.
I didn’t have many details, but we’d received reports of this little Ugandan baby, hovering on the brink of life, who had miraculously encountered our medical clinic and then been taken to a hospital.
After that, I knew our Uganda team was keeping an eye on her and helping support her, but I didn’t hear much. As months went by there were times it was on my heart to pray for her in our morning staff prayer times. Something about this little girl tugged at my heart…
Not many months before hearing about Sarah we received reports of another little Ugandan baby struggling to survive. We asked people to pray, we got a flood of responses. We did what we could to get him medical care, but it was too late. This tiny baby boy didn’t make it. Tears still come to my eyes when I think about him.
Such heartbreak. Such suffering.
And so I think when we started investing in Baby Sarah’s life, though I’d never stopped to put words to it until now, I wanted to see this baby have a different story. And so, from 7,700 miles away, I remembered this little girl I shared a name with.
Live, little one, live…
Then I went to Uganda a few weeks ago.
I had no plans to see her, but on the day I was to fly back to the U.S., I unexpectedly had the opportunity to visit her family at their home.
I agreed to go, but had no idea that it was about to be the most impacting moment of my time with Bright Hope Uganda.
I was about to hold a miracle.
As we were driving to their home I was told the backstory I’d never heard before.
Six years ago, Sarah’s mama, Mariam, was very pregnant. One day she and her husband, Ronald, were laying bricks when it started to rain. Mariam headed back to the house to get out of the rain, but when Ronald later followed, he found his wife lying unconscious in the rain after having fallen.
Ronald and the neighbors brought her into the house, but they thought she was dead.
They couldn’t find a pulse.
They had pronounced Mariam dead, but then she exhaled audibly! Ronald picked her up, and they rushed her to the hospital. They performed an operation, but tragically, she lost the baby she was carrying. She had also broken her back and was now paralyzed in her lower body; her back couldn’t support her anymore, and she had also lost feeling in her fingers.
Now her husband helps her with all her personal care and carries her out of the house so she can get some sunlight. As we prepared to meet the family, I was told what a good man her husband was—it was so sweet to hear.
But life carried on after the accident and despite all these challenges, Mariam gave birth to beautiful Baby Sarah!
However, Mariam was unable to adequately breastfeed her newborn, and so Sarah became malnourished, infections set in, and she became severely underweight.
At four months old, her situation was dire. She fell sick and Ronald rushed her to the hospital, but he was turned away because he had no money.
On the road returning home, he realized Baby Sarah was deteriorating rapidly. A white film had developed on her eyes, her breathing was slowing down, and she was gasping for air.
Ronald knelt in the middle of the road: “Lord you gave me this child and right now she is fighting for her life. Please give her life back the same way you granted her to us.”
He fought back the tears.
Little did he know how God was about to answer his prayer.
As Ronald got up to continue home, he saw a gathering in a nearby field. He inquired about it and was told that it was a group of doctors from the US that were treating people for free.
It was a Bright Hope medical team doing a campaign in the community.
The Lord was answering Ronald’s prayer…
Two words come to my mind at this point in the incredible story: “divine appointment.” I shake my head in wonder at the way God aligned the timing and the location of the Bright Hope medical team at this critical moment in Baby Sarah’s life.
What a privilege that God lets us be His tender, caring hands in the lives of His beloved children. What a privilege…
There’s more to tell of this miraculous story, but I’ll have to share the rest of it with you next week—with new pictures of this sweet, growing baby girl! God is good!