Come and See: Saving Lives through Surgery

It takes three hours in the operating room to set a broken leg and even less than that to mend a cleft lip. In today’s episode, join Kristy Graham as she speaks with Samaritan’s Purse medical specialists and shares stories of patients in Malawi and South Sudan. Both the orthopedic and cleft lip surgeries are transformational to every patient—allowing them to return to work, provide for their families, go back to school, and begin a new life.

– Learn more about the 23 orthopedic surgeries that Samaritan’s Purse performed this year in Malawi at the Nhakoma Mission Hospital.

– See photos and read stories about the patients that were transformed by the cleft lip procedures provided in South Sudan.

– Are you interested in diving deeper into the Good News of Salvation? Visit the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association website.

Show Notes

“It doesn’t happen in our world, but it happens in the world,” shares Jill Gerber, a nurse that has been serving with Samaritan’s Purse for 11 years.

In this episode, Kristy Graham sheds light on two projects within the Samaritan’s Purse Christmas Catalog that are transforming lives: support a mission hospital and mend a cleft lip. Many developing countries don’t have access to proper medical care, which causes a devastating ripple effect in hurting communities.

First, she shares about supporting a mission hospital and focuses on Nkhoma Mission Hospital in Malawi. This October, Samaritan’s Purse mobilized an orthopedic surgical subspecialty team to train national staff and perform 23 life-changing surgeries. Cindy Albertson, who had the vision for the trip, shares more about the need for orthopedic care in Africa.

“Nkhoma in of itself has not had orthopedic surgical capacity in over 10 years,” Cindy shares with the podcast team. “Basically, they had no surgical services to meet any orthopedic needs, trauma surgeries, or anything like that. Anyone who had a motorvehicle accident, broke their legs, or anything else – they were not able to meet that need.”

For the majority of Malawi, it can take months to be seen for an injury. One of the recipients of this surgery was Henry, a metalsmith who used his hands for a living. When he came to the mission hospital in Malawi, there was a noticeable bulge in his right arm that needed obvious medical attention. After talking with him, the team realized that he lived with this injury for 18 months. After receiving surgery, Henry shared how grateful he was for the opportunity to go back to work and provide for his children.

Adults and children alike struggled to find surgical care for their bone injuries. After Henry, the team was introduced to an 11-year-old patient named Shikira. She had a painful bone infection in her knee, which prevented her from walking to school. Her dad said that at the beginning of this school year she wanted to try the trip again, but she came home shortly in tears—the pain was unbearable.

“We realized that if Shikira didn’t have surgery, there was no way she’d be able to get an education or get out of poverty,” Shikira’s family shares. “She would be homebound.”

Receiving this surgery not only relieved her from the pain she was experiencing, but it gave her hope for a future and the ability to return to school.

Next, Kristy takes you to South Sudan where Samaritan’s Purse performed its tenth year of cleft lip surgeries at Juba Teaching Hospital. In one week, 120 surgeries were performed by our volunteer team.

Kristy speaks with Beth Thompson, who has overseen the surgical program since 2011.

“For one, these [cleft lip patients] have endured a life of ridicule,” Beth tells Kristy. “Many times, they’re not allowed to be in school or the ridicule is too much that they wouldn’t want to be in school. You’re outcast. It’s not uncommon for the kids to have one parent that’s abandoned them.”

Beth shares the story of a 65-year-old woman named Nyakuith, who dreamed of the day that she would be able to hold and play with her grandkids. The children were afraid of her because of her cleft lip. The day she received surgery she was filled with hope, and she was in awe of the surgery Samaritan’s Purse performed.

“I have a new life,” Nyakuith shares. “People who have been talking to me and saying bad things and kind of abusing – I am going to return and there is nothing bad that they are going to tell me or abuse me… everything seems to be okay now.”

As the episode wraps, Kristy shares that although both of the surgeries in Malawi and South Sudan are simple, their impact changes the trajectory of a person’s life.

Please pray for God’s continued faithfulness through these surgeries. If you would like to take part in creating an eternal impact by contributing to the Christmas Catalog, information can be found on our Samaritan’s Purse website.