Textbook Perfect

Scared for their son, Ezra, but trusting in God, Nathan and Jade Metz were stuck between trusting in God and fearing the unknown. With nightmares waking and thoughts of what could be, the journey has not been without its challenges. What would their son be like after his brain surgery? The answer is in the title of this post, but it is also so much more. Read on to learn as Nathan tells how God performed a miracle in little Ezra’s life.

IMG_4349

Photo credit: Nathan and Jade Metz

“Among our children we’ve witnessed optimism and hope that builds such powerful encouragement and strength within us. Prior to the surgery they said things like, ‘Today is the day Ezra will be healed!’ and ‘Ezra just had the final seizure of his life.’ It does Jade and I a lot of good to hear such positive, faith-filled perspective from our children. Jade and I have handled the process in our own ways with ups and downs, highs and lows. This morning I testify.

“God’s promises are full and final. He does not struggle to remain faithful to us. His love is complete. Less than 48 hours after his surgery, Ezra has no bandage on his head, walks around his room with ease, plays games with us, speaks, eats and exceeds nearly every expectation we had for him at this stage. The doctors agree. And so in a few hours, we are going home. Is he fully healed? We won’t be able to make that kind of statement for quite a while. Following the surgery, the doctor said she has every reason to believe that this surgery has cured his epilepsy. Is God faithful? I testify today: God is faithful. God is good. I am a father full of joy and thankfulness. We are parents full of praise and relief. We are a family covered in love, hope, and peace.

“Medically speaking: Ezra’s left hippocampus was removed in a ‘textbook perfect’ surgery called a Left Temporal Lobectomy. He now has a circular scar above his left ear about the size of a baseball with a small line in front of his ear. The incision is not stitched. Instead, they use a special ‘super glue’ with antiseptic in it that will hold the skin in place and fall off on its own once the wound is healed. He will have about two weeks of ‘taking it easy’ at home before returning to school and moderate routine activities. It will be about a month before he is riding his bike or jumping on the trampoline. Three months from now, his brain will be fully healed.

“Jade and I have been so incredibly encouraged by our family, friends, and community. We spent the day of surgery with 15-20 who came to sit with us in the waiting room. As other families came and went we sat in waiting for one of the longest surgeries of the day. I can’t imagine going through such a scenario on our own. Community changes everything. As Ezra moved from his post-op bed to the ICU to his recovery room we enjoyed a steady stream of visiting friends with balloons, Legos, cards and meaningful time. Behind the scenes, there were hundreds and hundreds of you praying from all over the world. We are thankful for those who came, those who prayed and all who stood in support of Ezra and our family. Please join us today and praise our Father for what the doctors are calling a ‘textbook perfect surgery’, a ‘perfect CT scan’ and a ‘perfect recovery’. What an awesome, powerful experience this has been.”

Praise God! How wonderful He is to heal! Yesterday, as my nephew Ezra hugged me in my office for longer than expected, my heart rejoiced. It is so good to have him with us, and I am excited to see how Ezra will grow and change as he heals. I can’t imagine the joy Nathan and Jade must be feeling, but their journey, in some ways, has just begun.

ACT: Will you pray for Ezra’s recovery and for the rest of the Metz family as they work together to support him?

Hope for a Little One

Mike and Julie Ganey are missionaries serving at Tenwek Hospital and in the surrounding community in Kenya. Did you know that Tenwek is more than just a hospital? Its motto, “We Treat, Jesus Heals,” is one that the staff truly takes to heart. Tenwek is not just a hospital; it is a battleground. God is answering prayers, fighting evil, healing the sick, and changing hearts on a daily basis. Today, thanks to the Ganeys’ latest blog post, you will get a glimpse into a miracle where Dr. Mike Ganey and his team treated and Jesus healed.

tracy-and-lilian-2

Photo credit: Julian Anne Ganey

“A month ago I received an urgent page from the head nurse at Tenwek. A hospital was calling to send us a very sick newborn girl. She was only 2 kg and had been vomiting since she was born three days before. The transfer was arranged emergently.

“On arrival to Tenwek, we found her to be quite ill. Gravely so. We emergently took her to theatre to find what we feared – over half of her small intestine was twisted and black. It needed to be removed. Had it been much more she would not be able to survive without very expensive nutrition through her IV – perhaps indefinitely. Something that doesn’t happen here in subSaharan Africa. Some places can manage short term treatment like that, but not long term. We have been striving to provide such short term treatment for little ones like this and we thought we might be able to do so for her. For a little while…

“So we removed the dying intestine. But she was so sick we were worried she wouldn’t survive. We decided we would bring her back in two days (if she survived) to make sure no further intestine needed to be removed. Just before closing her little abdomen, I reached up with a finger to check her stomach and make sure the drain we placed through her nose was properly positioned inside the stomach to keep it decompressed after surgery. A routine thing. But instead of finding the tube as expected, I found her stomach was mostly dead.

“Two thirds of her stomach was falling apart. I quickly removed the portion that was affected and placed the tube inside the good portion that remained. Then I quickly sewed up the large hole where most of her stomach should have been. We placed a drainage catheter next to the repair and closed up her belly. I didn’t expect her to survive.

“Amazingly she woke up right away after the operation and the anesthetist took out her breathing tube. She was vigorous and breathing well. I didn’t expect that. Newborns don’t usually wake up so well after something like this. So while the team prepared to move her to the nursery, I went to find mom.”

To finish this amazing story, visit the Ganeys’ ministry blog. WGM can help you get involved in this powerful ministry. Visit wgm.org/tenwek to find out more about what you can do to make a difference for babies just like Tracy.

Miracle at Kijabe

Dan and Heather Galat are missionaries serving in Kenya at Kijabe Hospital. This was a recent move for them from their past location at Tenwek Hospital. Dan shares in their latest blog post about a young man named Samuel, who was in desperate need of help, and how God answered prayers.

“On my first day of work at Kijabe Hospital, I met a 20-year-old patient named Samuel, who had been involved in a terrible motorcycle accident resulting in a burst fracture of his T7 thoracic vertebra.  When he first presented to Kijabe (one week after the accident), Samuel was completely paralyzed from the abdomen down, without any motor and minimal sensory function in his lower extremities.  One of my new partners, Dr. Muchiri, had performed a decompression with posterior instrumented fusion from T4-T10 so that the patient could at least mobilize to a wheelchair.  Now, when I first met him, more than two weeks from his initial injury, Samuel was recovering from his surgery, and physiotherapy was beginning to work with him, teaching him how to live as a person with a new, permanent spinal cord injury.

3

“Original CT scan of the fracture of T7 vertebra. Bone fragments are pressing into the spinal canal, compressing the spinal cord.” (Photo and caption by Dan Galat)

1

“Dr. Muchiri did excellent work stabilizing his spine. ” (Photo and caption by Dan Galat)

2

“Samuel’s affect was quite flat when I first met him, no doubt secondary to the realization that he would never walk again.  Spinal cord injuries in Kenya are at best, significantly challenging (as there are no disability provisions or laws in Kenya) and at worst, a ‘death sentence’ (as patients, neglected by family and friends, often succumb to pneumonia, infected bedsores, or urinary tract infections).  My heart went out to Samuel as I examined his legs, confirming that he was indeed paralyzed.  After my examination, I offered to pray for him, and he readily accepted.  I prayed simply that God would meet him in a meaningful way, and that he would be able to function well with his new condition.

“Upon returning from a 3-day trip to Singapore for an orthopaedic training course, while rounding on patients in the morning, the team came to Samuel’s beside, and he was beaming.  ‘Anything new with Samuel,’ I asked, hoping that he had gotten his wheelchair, and was progressing on schedule with therapy.  ‘Yes,’ said Dr. Otido, rather dispassionately.  ‘He started walking about three days ago.’  ‘What?’ I said, looking searchingly at the team, entirely puzzled, as I had never seen, nor heard of a patient who made a complete recovery more than two weeks after such a spinal cord injury.  ‘Come again…you said he’s walking?!’ I asked with emphasis.  ‘Yes,’ said Dr. Okello, the orthopaedic resident.  ‘He’s been walking with crutches.’  Bewildered, I went to Samuel’s bedside to examine him myself.  I couldn’t believe what I was seeing…he had full sensation in both extremities, and was moving his legs, feet and toes as if he had never been injured (all the while smiling broadly).  I looked back at the team, and said, ‘This is a complete miracle!  There is no other way to explain this medically!’  Now Dr. Okello was the one looking puzzled.  ‘Daktari, you know…these things happen at mission hospitals,’ he replied.  ‘Indeed,’ I said, still amazed that I had witnessed a modern day miracle.  Later, I came to Samuel, and encouraged him with the truth that Jesus had heard our prayers and healed him.  He fully agreed and affirmed that he was a believer, a member of the Presbyterian Church in Kenya.

img_28402

“Samuel, now all smiles!” (Photo and caption by Dan Galat)

“As I have processed Samuel’s case (myself and with other physicians), I am convinced that we have been privileged to witness a true miracle.  There is absolutely no way to explain it medically.  While recovery after such spinal cord injuries can occur, it is usually minimal (e.g. slight improvement in sensation by a level or two), especially in those who have demonstrated almost complete neurologic deficit for an extended period of time after initial injury.  But should I be so surprised?  Is anything too difficult for the One who in perfect wisdom created something as complex as the spinal cord?  Surely, ‘Who is like you, Lord God Almighty?  You Lord, are mighty, and your faithfulness surrounds you.’ Psalm 89:8.

“Thanks for all your prayers and support which has sustained us over the years, and enables us to continue partnering with you in Kenya!”

Will you pray for the Galats’ ministry as they settle into their new area and continue treating those in need?