By Drew Benac
I met Maureen the day before her surgery. She had a large pre-cancerous growth in a very personal location. It had become difficult for her to sit or sleep due to the pain and discomfort she was experiencing. She had sought medical care from various doctors but nobody was willing to take on her case. The Tenwek team found Maureen at a community outreach clinic where they prayed with her and offered to help care for her if she could make it to the hospital.
After several months of saving, Maureen eventually made the 5 hour trip to Tenwek with enough money to cover the initial costs for her hospital admission. Our surgical team saw her and made plans to remove the entire growth the following day. The large defect left behind would require moving a flap of skin from her thigh to allow for proper healing. This meant that the risk of wound breakdown or complications following surgery were high but complete removal was the only chance at curing her condition and preventing cancer from spreading in the future.
The surgery went well with an aesthetically pleasing end result but unfortunately half of Maureen’s wound broke down after the first week. The location of her flap, the sanitary conditions in the ward and her HIV+ status all created unique challenges for proper healing. The best way forward seemed to be twice daily dressing changes to allow the surgical site to heal from the inside out.
For the next two weeks, Maureen’s bandage was painfully changed morning and night, these times fraught with frequent tears and great anxiety for Maureen. It was during this time of praying with Maureen before each dressing change that a bond was formed and we began to hear more of her story.
Hannah heard about the case and asked if she could go pray with Maureen. The two became fast friends. Hannah gave her a Bible as well as a children’s Bible for her ten year old son that had been donated and they they began to study the Bible together. Maureen was certainly no stranger to suffering. An orphan at the age of 12, a long struggle with infertility, a diagnosis with HIV then eventual abandonment by her husband had all given Maureen good reason to run from the Lord but her faith continues to grow. She has been mentored by her God-fearing grandmother and now desires to teach her own son about the Lord and His ways.
Yesterday, Maureen walked out of the hospital after a one month stay. Before she left we were able to tell her that the cost of her hospital bill had been covered (in part by generous donations from you) and that the results from her surgery showed she was cancer free! She wept in her bed on the ward and we were able to pray and thank God for His provision and grace. This was truly an example of Jesus healing a women both inside and out. Maureen left Tenwek physically healed and spiritually encouraged. Before she left she came over to our house for chai and met our kids. What a sweet moment for us to have her in our home and pray with her before she went home. It was exciting for Hannah and I to team up in caring for a patient and we are thankful for the opportunity to partner with you and the entire team at Tenwek.
This case was a great reminder for us of what God has done in redeeming his children. He has completely paid the spiritual debts we couldn’t afford and removed our sin completely. We too have been set free from the cancer of our flesh and covered with the beauty of his righteousness.
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” – 2 Corinthians 5:21