Ghana Medical Mission – Liz Koladish’s Story

2104, 05-05_003 GhanaI have been to Ghana four times and I cannot remember the name of all the villages that I have been to or remember every name of every person I meet. I can, however, remember every face that God writes on my heart that he commissions me to pray for faithfully and to never forget.

My most recent trip to Ghana was the hardest one that I have been on. Not because of the hardships of sixteen hours on a bus, or lack of running water and electricity, not even because I had to relieve myself on the side of the street with cars passing by and their headlights zeroing in on my white skin, while trying to remain unnoticed. These are the things I love about Africa they force you to realize what is necessity and what things we just take for granted. This trip was the hardest for a different reason. It was because of the broken children I saw. Children that seemed hopeless and uninterested in even being alive. Their spirits were so broken that they broke off pieces of my heart as well.

On one particular day at the clinics there was one little boy that sat in a chair across from Johnbull, one of our Ghanaian partners and founder of the Children of Refuge Ministries. The young boy kept his head down staring at the ground. He didn’t even seem to want to look up let alone make eye contact with anyone. It was a hard clinic that day, so many people had been testing positive for HIV, so many kids were sick, so many kids were slaves to fisherman, and so many kids seemed to have no future but oppression and sadness. I just sat there in my makeshift pharmacy handing out what medications were available.

But this young boy was directly in my path and he kept distracting me. I couldn’t stop looking at him wondering why he was sitting there. He just kept looking down at the ground. Johnbull radiates Gods love and he would rub the kids arm gently and the boy just remained staring at the ground. I kept staring at him I couldn’t help it. I thought maybe he has HIV and they are waiting to tell his parents. Finally, with all my staring he turned his head to the side and looked me in the eyes. I smiled and he smiled and immediately he would look right down like he was embarrassed. So we played this game back and forth. It was then that I realized why he wasn’t looking at people. He felt like he wasn’t worthy. I was then overwhelmed with sadness because I felt like he was just so burdened and heavy.

Eventually, his father came to escort him thru the clinic. That is when it became clear he was severely crippled and mangled. His feet were twisted and contorted in ways that I have never seen. He finally made it to the doctors and they began trying to gage the severity of his mangled body. His face remained fixed on the ground, wincing in pain at moments, but never looking up. As they examined his twisted legs they began stretching them. The ligaments were wound so tightly it caused his legs to snap back like rubber bands. I couldn’t take it anymore I had to go see him get close just put a hand on him. So I went and sat near him on the bench and I just started to rub the top of his hand. The doctors began to discuss that maybe there was brain damage because he didn’t seem to communicate. I told them no that’s not true he smiles he’s in there. They said you’ve seen him smile I said yes watch I’ll make him smile right now and sure enough he looked at me and I smiled and he smiled sheepishly.

The back ground story of his life was that he was a normal boy who became sick with a fever and when he recovered he was crippled. He lived with his sister and father but you can imagine in a society where to survive every day is physical labor what a burden he was to them. And when around him you got the feeling he knew what a burden he was to them. That was what kept breaking me down to the point of tears. I kept saying I need to make a trip to the bush so I wouldn’t just start to ball in front of everyone. It was in the bush that I would just pray and beg Jesus to do something to help me make sense of all this. At some point the boy was taken back home. I couldn’t get him out of my mind that day and I have not gotten him out of my mind to this day. I don’t know what the future holds for this young child but I do know that I believe in God. And not some “happy feely” God but a radical God that sent his son to die for us so that we can all be worthy to be loved and the burden of our sin demolished. I believe that before God’s Son did all this he was Jesus who walked the streets and performed miracles. So even though we are not together on earth at this time I still believe in His power and am praying for some kind of miracle or some big answer to prayer. Somehow, someway this boy will know he is worthy thru Jesus’s sacrifice and can receive the love of his heavenly Father.

I also am hoping maybe he can receive treatments in the US. At the very least we will be able to bring him crutches when I return in August. I’ll pray big and ask for miracles and I hope others will pray with me.