When I walked into the kitchen on Monday morning, I knew something had happened. My housekeeper Kountouma was washing dishes, a wide grin across her face. It’s been months since I’ve seen her smile, but it was more than that. Her face was radiating joy.
Kountouma’s daughter Sarah was in a taxi-moto accident a few months ago. These kinds of motorcycles are all over Lomé and they are really dangerous. Many of them don’t respect any sort of traffic laws. Accidents and even fatalities are common.
Sarah had been wearing a helmet, which is unusual for a passenger. She had bumps and scrapes which healed quickly, and seemed otherwise unharmed. But a few weeks later she started having pain in her hands, arms, and legs. The pain escalated and soon she was in too much pain to even walk.
I knew about the accident, and I knew Sarah was having some residual pain, but I didn’t know how bad it was. Right before we left for Burkina Faso last week, I noticed how troubled Kountouma had been and I asked her about it.
She was having trouble paying for medical care, she explained. Her church had helped her pay for some blood-work and a doctor visit, all of which had turned up nothing. The doctor had told her that Sarah needed a scan. It was going to cost about $140 US and she didn’t have it. She’d exhausted every avenue available to her.
I felt the Lord nudge me to give her the money, so we did, and then we left for Burkina Faso for ten days.
*Giving money to meet a need is complicated. It is inherently related to dignity and sometimes has unintended consequences.. If you want to read about some of the complications, here’s another blog post I wrote about it. This was an exceptional situation, since it was an immediate need that Kountouma wasn’t able to meet herself.
Monday was the first time I saw Kountouma since that day. And she was glowing.
“What’s happened?” I asked her. She couldn’t stop smiling and she was talking so fast that I was having trouble following her explanation.
Instead of doing the scan, the original doctor ended up sending them to a specialist. Understanding Kountouma’s financial reality, the specialist ordered some localized scans and did his exams. And he charged her very little.
When the results came back, he said that Sarah has nerve damage from the accident. He told her that she had waited a long time for medical care, and it was getting worse quickly. In fact, he told her that if she had waited even just a week longer, Sarah would have been paralyzed. Instead, with physical therapy and medication, she will heal.
God provided a solution just in time.
“I was so afraid,” Kountouma finally admitted. “I hadn’t been sleeping or eating. I was calling her several times during the day while I was here working. I was so afraid I was going to come home after work and she would be dead. It had gotten so bad that I was having to bathe her and feed her.”
“If it wasn’t for you, my daughter would be paralyzed. Or even dead. Instead, yesterday, she showered by herself for the first time in weeks. She fed herself. She got up and walked around the neighborhood for about half an hour.” She began to cry.
“It wasn’t me, Kountouma. It was God. I didn’t do this. He did it.” By this point, I was crying too.
“I saw a man in my house. . . he dug up the floor and pulled out a coffin. Then he threw the coffin out of the house.”
“One night when I couldn’t sleep,” she continued, “I saw a man in my house. He was really big. I didn’t know him. He came into my home and he began digging up the floor. He dug for a long time and I just watched him. Finally, he reached into the hole and pulled out a coffin. Then he lifted it up as if it were nothing and he threw it out of my house. I looked up, watching the coffin fly out the door, and I noticed that the walls of my house were twice as tall as they had been before. And then when I looked back, the man was gone and the floor was smooth again.”
This happened before we knew about the situation– before we helped her with the money for Sarah. “I didn’t understand it,” she said. “I was so afraid because the man found a coffin in my house. But now I understand. God removed death from my house.”
“God showed me that He was removing death from my house.”
On Wednesday, Sarah came by our house. Unfortunately, we missed her because we didn’t know she was coming, but our intern Lauren was here. Lauren took a photo of Sarah for us, and she said that Sarah looks good. She looks healthy and strong. Just a few weeks ago, she was in too much pain to get out of bed, not even able to take care of basic needs. But on Wednesday, she came on her own just to thank us.
Americans tend to be cynical about miracles. We wonder if God really does them. We suspect coincidences. I’m guilty myself. But it’s hard to be cynical when you see it in front of you. We live in a place where we see the reality of a broken world on a daily basis. We are surrounded by people who, when they pray, have no plan B. They have no fallback. They need God to answer, and sometimes the only way that is going to happen is through a miracle. Sometimes the miracle is an instant healing. Sometimes it’s provision that comes just in time.
God still does miracles.
To our supporters- we all know that all thanks for this miracle goes to God. But the thanks that Kountouma and her daughter can’t stop giving us really belongs to you. It is you who allow us to be here. You give sacrificially. You pray. You encourage us. And it changes lives.
We hired a housekeeper. We had no idea that God had a divine appointment arranged to change the life of one little family.
And it wouldn’t have happened without you.
Lomé, Togo, March 29, 2017