Two Cross staff members recently returned from a trip to Ethiopia, where they had a chance to tour a brand new Christian pediatric hospital whose construction was partially funded by our donors.
The hospital, which specializes in orthopedic surgery, brands itself as more than just a place for physical healing. The doctors describe their work as evangelism in the truest sense of the term. But the full impact of their outreach can only be experienced firsthand.
During their visit, they met a little boy who was literally missing half his face. A poor diet had led to a flesh-eating infection that ate away his nose, left eye, and cheek. His gruesome condition was hard to look at; but as he followed the Cross staff members through the hospital and held their hands, not wanting to let go, they could not help but notice his genuine smile and the joy that shined from his one surviving eye.
Many of the children have that same shine – a surge of hope beneath the pain – that at first seems so out of place. But as our visiting staff members met with the caring staff and watched them interact with the patients, and as they walked past Bible-themed murals and observed patients watching the Jesus film in the recreation area, they began to understand.
In the city outside the hospital walls, the boy without a face would have reached out his hand in vain. There is no one to give these children a hug or even a smile, because their deformities are considered a curse. Ancient superstitions force their families to hide them from their neighbors, who mock and condemn and shun them as if they did something to deserve their condition.
At the Christian-run hospital, the children learn for the first time that they are loved. The spiritual director prays over each and every patient and shares the Gospel with them and their families, whose hearts are open because they have never before experienced such compassion. That is the power of the Gospel – good news that is truly good. Real hope in a world of real suffering.
You can help Cross International provide surgeries for poor children in developing nations. CLICK HERE to learn more.