June 20, 2017
The heart of the ministry is to share the love and message of Jesus through blessing people whatever their need may be. Some blessings are simple, a warm meal, a new outfit, school supplies or a new pair of shoes for a child that has never owned a pair before. Other blessings have a much more permanent and lasting impact.
In early June connections were made with Eufemia who lives along the Rio Coco River. The Team has known her for a few years. When she was less than a year old cancer was discovered in her left leg. As a result, doctors had to amputate the entire leg in order to control the spread of the disease. Her residual leg stops just below the pelvis. For 11 years she maneuvered the ruggedl terrain of the Rio Coco without a leg. 3 years ago she was able to acquire a simple prosthetic through the government health system that permitted her to walk. Unfortunately due to the quality of the prosthetic and the ruggedness of where she lives, the leg quickly fell apart, leaving her with a limited and uneven walking gait.
The photo above shows how lopsided and uneven Eufemia's gait and stance has been. Hip and spinal alignment was greatly uneven. Though she has faced great difficulty her tenacity and smile are undeniable.
She has lived 14 years enduring physical difficulties and challenges that few people would fully understand. These challenges are exasperated by poverty and living in a remote and rugged region of Nicaragua. Her home sets atop a very steep and difficult path climbing abruptly from the river. Each day she has made her way up and down that path. The approach to her home is challenging when dry but the Rainy season brings even more difficulties as the path is made treacherous by slick mud and rain. Each Sunday she walks over an hour to reach La Pintada for Church services. Recently due to the condition of her prosthetic she was unable to travel to church and was home bound for months. Daily life is a challenge to physically navigate her surroundings resulting in great frustration, falls, and embarrassment as she faces life without a leg. The physical pain and discomfort she experiences is only eclipsed by the emotional pain she feels coping with the questions and challenges faced due to life with a disability.
John 9:1-3 speaks to the "reason" for disability in people's lives. When Jesus was asked if Sin caused the presence of disability in a person's life, he answered with a powerful vision of "why" such things are allowed in our lives. Jesus revealed that it is not sin or punishment for sin but,
"THAT THE WORKS OF GOD MIGHT BE DISPLAYED IN [THOSE THAT ARE DISABLED]".
Through the Grace of God the ministry was able to connect Eufemia with a specialized private clinic in Managua. Arrangements were made for her to travel first to El Jicaro to the ministry base and then on to Managua to connect with the team. God graciously opened up the doors of opportunity at the clinic. The medical team quickly got to work on sizing and fitting a custom prosthetic leg. The process took a week to complete. Measurements were taken and a custom sleeve was made that tightly secured her residual leg in place to the prosthetic. Once the fitting was complete, therapy was begun to help her with strength and mobility training.
The above photo shows what remains of the previous prosthetic. It was ill fitting and nearly destroyed by the rugged conditions that she navigated daily. The foot of the prosthetic was missing, replaced by a heal from a shoe that was strapped in place. Due to the shortened "leg", her gait was lopsided. The poor alignment increased the likelihood of falls and was painful to navigate requiring her to hold the leg in place as she walked. The leg would frequently fall off in the rugged terrain because of how poorly fitted it was resulting in painful falls made only worse by embarrassment.
“...when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled healthy, the lame walking, and the blind seeing. They glorified the God of Israel". (Mathew 15:31 Paraphrased)
The new prosthetic was significantly more advanced then her prior one. It was made of a sturdy lightweight metal, the knee is able to articulate allowing a more natural gait and swing of the leg while walking. The articulating knee also allowed a more natural and comfortable sitting position.
Undergoing balance and mobility training at the clinic in Managua. Eufemia was able to get formal therapy the entire week. As time progresses her body will become accustomed to the better fitted leg. The doctor provided exercises and routines she can practice at home to improve mobility over time.
The size and diameter of the prosthetic cover was designed to match her right leg as closely as possible to decrease visual attention to the prosthetic. This was very important to her and a great blessing that has been made available. The clinic also fitted her with a specialized cane to provide initial balance and support as she practices walking with a very different gait and alignment than she has been used to.
Celebrating the Goodness of God!
The week at the clinic has been an tremendous blessing for Eufemia's life. She is happy and doing well! Eufemia was overwhelmed with gratefulness. This experience will be a great testimony in her life that Jesus will use to Glorify His name and reveal His heart for the hundreds and thousands of other disabled persons throughout Nicaragua. Pray that the abundance of Christ will continue to flow into the ministry allowing for greater outreach to those in need.
Prayer Teams Focus
Continued healing and strengthening for Eufemia as she becomes comfortable and confident with the new prosthetic.
Prayer for other disabled individuals within the country. The challenges that disability brings for a family is greatly complicated by poverty.
Continued favor from God to provide resources and opportunities to meet the needs of the disabled and those suffering form disease.
Pray for ministry opportunities that opened as a result of Eufemia's treatment. The team will visit other cases throughout the region with the specialist from the clinic. These visits will provide many more opportunities to bless families in need.