Two years ago today, our friend Davis who was 16 years old, fell face first into a charcoal fire during an epileptic seizure. Despite the suffering since, a huge miracle has happened. God has “parted the Red Sea” for Davis.
I met Davis at a medical clinic at one of our village churches here in Uganda. The clinic was sponsored by FPC Houston and ARM, our ministry here. Davis was sitting with his mother wearing a hat and sunglasses. The severe scarring of his face was obvious from a distance. I asked if he would be ok with taking off his glasses and hat so I could take a photo to send to US doctors. I prayed for God’s merciful eyes for what I might see. In looking at his severely disfigured face, God answered my prayer. A doctor friend at UTMB Galveston sent the photos to Shriners burn hospital. The doctors felt Davis’ burns were severe and started the process for approval. It included a long list of documents, vaccines, and tests. That process in a developing country was a bit overwhelming! But with every detail, God, “parted the Red Sea!” Nothing ever happens very fast in Uganda, but it did for Davis. Every person we met along the way had great compassion for him.
There were many heartbreaking moments that helped us to understand on a very small level, the suffering Davis had endured not just physically, but emotionally. We attempted to have Davis’ photo taken for a National ID. There were about 40 people in the ID office, all of whom crowded around Davis to stare while the photographer tried to take his photo with the facial recognition software. I stood in front of Davis to shield him from the stares and the shame, but too many people were watching. My heart broke. Davis doesn’t have eyelids to be able to close his eyes which water constantly. One man said loudly, “The photo isn’t working because of his tears.”
Next, we went the immigration office to obtain a passport. An employee noticed us and asked if he could help. The employee took us to the head immigration officer. What happened next was an unbelievable miracle. The officer saw Davis and I shared his story and how we were helping him apply for treatment in the US. The officer looked at me and said we would leave with a passport for Davis. It took one hour, a feat not even possible in Western countries. An American ophthalmologist examined Davis’ photos and instructed me to apply ointment to his eyes and oil on the skin where his eyelids were missing. Once again, the prayer was lifted up in asking for God’s mercy to help Davis. It was the most humbling act to touch and anoint his wounds. It has been said that Christ’s face is seen in the face of the poor. Davis’ scarred and wounded face reflected the face of Christ beyond what we have ever experienced.
The last aspect needed for his approval was a community in Galveston to care for Davis during his eight months of skin grafts, reconstruction surgeries and treatments. We found that community within the congregation of West Isle Presbyterian Church. They are taking a huge step of faith like our family did in learning along the way in how to love and care for Davis. Members of First Presbyterian Houston will also support Davis. There will be a village of God’s people who will be blessed beyond what they can imagine in sharing Davis’ healing journey. We arrive in Houston on January 10th and Davis’ treatments begin on the 12th.
Whatever you are going through, please remember, God is very able to part the Red Sea in all of our lives. We give thanks to God for the gift Davis has given us and will give to others.