When I went to Ghana, I pictured spending my days with a 9-year-old boy with some badly burned feet. Turns out, I got there, and 48 hours later he practically told me “Peace Out!” and ran off to play. God found a way for me to spend my days. I spent them with an 8-year-old girl who had a broken heart. Literally, broken. And, figuratively broken as well. She lost her biological family, and then her adoptive mom came, but had to leave her again. She didn’t understand why any of it was happening. And, she hurt physically as well.
Her name is Comfort, and it turns out, that was a lot of what she needed. Ironic, huh? During the first days I was there, there were no other Americans. Comfort speaks english, but didn’t understand a lot of what I was saying. So, because I’m all about attachment, I spent a lot of time hugging her. She needed it so badly. Isn’t that sad? That she has advanced heart disease, and I’m giving out hugs? I kept telling God that I’m not a cardiac nurse. If this was truly the purpose here, why didn’t he send someone with more knowledge. I felt so helpless, no other person to confide in, everyone counting on me, and I was actually scared I was going to wake up and Comfort would have gone to heaven lying there, right next to me. Poor girl, I poked her and listened to her every 2 hours, all night long. After Brant and Shelley arrived, Comfort still stayed in our room. She just couldn’t go back to the dorms, and we hoped her adoptive mom would come so that she would never have to.
There was one night where she complained of horrible “paining”, her extremities started to swell, she was sweating and weak. In the dark, with nothing but a flashlight, and surrounded by people of a religion that I’m not part of, we all gathered around her and prayed. Brant led us in prayer, and we all just stood there. Silent. In what felt like the remotest part of Africa. I couldn’t help but think how stupid I was for thinking these people had been forgotten. Because, I’ve never felt God’s hand more strongly then I did in that room that night. It didn’t matter that I’m not Mormon, or that they all are. We were praying to the same God, for the same thing. And, He heard, because Comfort woke up the next day, and we sent her to school for a little while, until she got tired and hot again. The day after, she was her happy self again.
I just got word that she is back in that dark place again. Only now, she’s with her family, in Seattle. She’s in the ICU where they have the best medical care available. I pray that it’s enough, that her mother got there fast enough. I know God has a plan for Comfort, and selfishly, I hope it doesn’t involve her joining Him. We’ve come so far, she’s taught me more than a lot of my little cancer patients here in the U.S. ever did. She is the definition of bravery. So, please God, because I know you heard me in Africa, and I know you hear me now…please leave her here with her family. It’s all she wanted in the whole world. This is what I’ll be praying for this morning. I want to see her looking like this again.